Show your daughter the path you chose
Dear Carolyn • My wife and I split up for a couple of reasons including that she's likely bipolar but refuses treatment. Slowly over the years of working together to raise our children, we seem to have developed a friendly relationship. I love being with her when she is on the up side; when she is down, I stay clear. Now my older, college-age child is seeing how her mother really is, and I see them getting into the same strange arguments my wife and I used to get into. It's starting to affect how she feels about her mother. I've tried to talk to my ex about this. How do you get someone to get help who does not believe she needs it? I love my daughter and hate to see her not want to visit home, and I would like to see my ex not quite so crazy. Any ideas?
Dear N. • Did you make peace with your ex-wife by getting her to get help despite her not believing she needed it? No. So it makes absolutely no sense to tackle your daughter's "same strange arguments" from the make-Mom-not-quite-so-crazy angle. Explain to her that her mom is not only volatile, but also unwilling to take any steps to be otherwise. Then say you've created a warm and working relationship with her mom by recognizing her mom's limits and your own and that path is there for her, too, if she wants it.
Dear Carolyn • My husband has always been a fast walker, always in a hurry. When we are out in public, he is usually about 10 feet in front of me and I can't keep up. I saw another couple in the same situation recently and it really got to me how subservient and weak she looked as she scurried to keep up. I don't guess anything is going to change after all this time, but I feel uncared for and unloved when he goes off and leaves me trailing behind. Talking (arguing) has done no good. Any advice?
Dear Left behind • Interesting that you got to look in on your own circumstances as a third party; not everyone gets that opportunity. So I wonder what would you advise this other woman to do, if you had the chance? That's your answer.
Carolyn Hax's column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.