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Dear Mari: Three, or four, is a crowd

THREE, or in this case, maybe four, is a crowd/

Dear Marilyn,

I have a boyfriend. He cheated on me last year. He had a baby with another woman. He begged me to take him back, and I did. I’m not sure that I can trust him, though.

About three months ago, I met a new guy at work. I have fallen head over heels for him. During the last month we have become very emotionally involved. We talk to each other all of the time, and we have many things in common.

The downside is that he is still legally married. He has been separated for over a year, though. They haven’t filed the actual papers yet, for a bunch of complicated financial reasons. My boyfriend, of course, doesn’t know anything about the guy at work.

So, my new friend and I are both in prior relationships that we really don’t want to be in. We have very strong feelings for each other, and we want to be in a relationship together.

Should we continue to talk to each other, ever though we both are in other relationships that we don’t want to be in? Or, should we stop talking to each other? I would miss our new friendship if we did that, and I guess it’s obvious that is not what we want to do.

What do you think that I should do?

Signed, In Love, I Think

Dear In Love, I Think

Slow down! There is so much lying and deceit going on in all of these so-called relationships, that you certainly are NOT thinking!

The first thing that you need to do is to break up with your boyfriend. He has given you a very good reason not to trust him. And, you are now giving him reasons not to trust you. Also, it is clear that you are not in love with him.

Then, you need to “cool it” with your new friend at work. Until he has figured out how to solve his “complicated financial issues” he is still a married man. Do not start a relationship with him.

 Then, you need to do some soul searching. Why are you attracted to guys that cheat? It could be that you think they are exciting, and that you can “tame” them. It could be that your self-esteem is low, and you think that is the best you can do.

Whatever the reasons are, you should take time off from any relationships, and get to know yourself better. You are a person of value and worth, and you deserve to be treated as such, both by guys that you date, and by the way that you treat yourself.

Dear Marilyn,

I am 17 years old. I am constantly fighting with my parents. We disagree on what time I should come in at night. We disagree on the number of hours that I should work on my homework. We even disagree on how I chose to spend money that I earned.

I can remember when I was young. We used to go camping. There was nothing but smiles all around our family. We always had so much fun. My parents and I used to get along great. We hardly ever fought. Now it seems like we run into a conflict every time that we talk.

I don’t know why this is happening. They say it’s because I am a teenager. Then they laugh. I don’t think it’s funny at all. That response doesn’t make any sense to me. They don’t seem to listen to me.

I wish that I could go back to the days when laughter and good times filled our house. I really do want to get along with my parents. What should I do or say so that they understand me?

Signed, Frustrated Teen

Dear Frustrated Teen,

It might help if you understand if you see that the relationship that you have with you parents changes as you get older. You want more control of your own life, and your own choices. This is a natural part of growing up. However, when the three of you don’t agree on those choices, it can lead to conflict.

Think about those days when you were young. You probably did pretty much what your parents told you to do. They directed what you could eat, and what time you went to bed, and what you did for entertainment. There was no conflict, because they were calling the shots, and you agreed.

So, you need to have patience, and you need to attempt to keep the lines of communication open with them. As time goes by, you will be able to make more of your own choices, without their permission. Right now, however, you still live in their house, and have to abide by their decisions for you.

Keep talking with them. Explain your thoughts and reasons for your choices. Hopefully you will be able to come to compromises on the issues that are leading to conflict.

Just remember that your parents love you very much. That is the one thing that does not change as the years go by.

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