Timing the divorce

Joey Garcia

My last child enters college soon and I am ready to divorce her father, an arrogant jerk. My daughter adores her father. Should I tell her about the divorce before she heads to college or wait until she is at school? My daughter is levelheaded, but I don’t think she will understand. I have shielded her from the worst of his behavior.

If your daughter is Daddy’s girl, she will blame you for abandoning him. If her thinking is truly off-kilter, the divorce will be a relief, because her brain will translate your absence as the removal of competition for her father’s attention. Either way, the timing of your announcement won’t ease the heartache for any of you. A divorce is the death of a marriage, so mourning is a natural response. Yes, even you might grieve. Your tears may spill due to dashed hopes about the institution of marriage, your own unlived dreams or your daughter’s attitude toward you. Whatever the reason, healthy grieving will invite you back into yourself.

Tell your daughter about the divorce before she heads back to campus. With a few weeks to process the news and ask questions, she can reassure herself that her parents are OK. That’s important for her success at school. Before you talk to your daughter, though, tell your husband that you want a divorce. After all, if the situation was reversed, would you want to be the last to know?

I tried your Internet dating advice (“Ask Joey’s secrets to online dating” SN&R Arts&Culture, February 11) and have been dating two men for the last four months. It’s time to choose. One guy has the intellectual capacity to keep me on my toes. He’s extremely thoughtful, funny and kind, but he’s below-average-looking with an average build. Honestly, sometimes I am embarrassed to be seen with him. I am completely attracted to the other guy. He’s fun, but doesn’t seem very serious about me. I wonder why I feel so pulled toward the guy who isn’t in love with me. Ideas?

You like icing more than cake. One bachelor offers substance. The other is eye candy, but an intellectual lightweight. You are overly invested in what other people think, and that’s why you are embarrassed to be seen with Bachelor No. 1. Before long (if not already) you will be analyzing every scrap of a smile or sliver of affection from Bachelor No. 2. That’s because you hope to prove he has feelings for you. Once committed to imagining him as your soul mate, you will justify throwing yourself at him.

Of course, he’s likely oblivious to all of this. The reality that you are not on the same page is worth noting. Respect yourself enough to back away from Mr. Pretty Face. And respect the man with genuine relationship potential by releasing him. He deserves a woman who can embrace him as is.

My boss hired his daughter after she was laid off from another company. She spends a lot of time on the telephone talking about her “crappy” life or sitting at her desk, texting. People in her department (like me) can’t get anything done because she is so distracting. She rarely completes the reports she is responsible for. The rest of us do her job. How do I tell her dad?

Before your next staff meeting, tell your supervisor that reports are bottlenecked at the new hire’s desk. Ask that a new, streamlined system be presented at the next staff meeting (and offer recommendations, if you can). You should also request more supervision for the new hire, since her casual work attitude affects the department’s morale and that impacts the bottom line.

Meditation of the week
“I don’t believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that, at a certain age, one stands still and stagnates,” wrote T.S. Eliot. Do you want to grow up?

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