Unwelcome Attention from Men; Children Caught Between Divorced Parents
Oct 23, 1995
For some time now, this certain guy has liked me. I never really liked this guy, but I tried to remain friendly. Since he consistently bugged me that I never called or even visited, I decided to visit ... to be nice. Anyway, he acted like a dog in heat and that really turned me off ... considering I never liked him in that sense anyway. I even gave him a chance to redeem himself by going over to watch a movie with him. But, no avail.
I haven't called him, but have seen him because some of our classes are in the same building. I used to just totally ignore him, but now I speak and go on. I haven't tried to converse with him since my last visit. He has an attitude like I did something wrong, but he still speaks and stuff. What is his problem, or is it me?
What's Up With This?
DEAR WHAT'S UP:
I don't think that it's your problem. Sometimes boys and men will place a great deal of pressure on a girl because they want to have a physical relationship. Their brains and hearts of true unselfish love have temporarily (or even permanently) relocated to the area south of their belts.
You've been polite to him. That's good. It may help to take him aside in a public area (not in his apartment) and explain to him that you would prefer to just be friends -- and no more. If he's a person of good character, he'll respect that, and be a good friend. A good friend would never try to force himself on another.
If he doesn't respect your wishes, and continues to pressure you, you should tell him that you can't see him anymore. Cut the relationship in order to protect yourself. Your own standard of purity and heart is the primary issue. Even though guys might pressure you, you have the right to maintain your own standards. They'll respect you even more -- and if they don't -- others, of higher character, will.
Be nice, but be strong and clear about what's right.
What is a good response when a child is told by her custodial parent not to talk about certain things in her life (such as school, band, friends) with her dad when she goes to visit him? I am "dad's" new wife, and "dad" is hurt and angry that his daughter won't share parts of her life with him. The custodial mom denies ever instructing the girl (age 11) not to talk with her dad, but the girl herself says she "can't" tell him about these common things. "Dad" is steaming mad and rejecting of the girl, while the girl is becoming less and less forthcoming with everyday conversation. I am stuck in the middle. Any words of wisdom?
DEAR NEW STEP-PARENT:
It must be very difficult for you and the girl to be caught in the middle in this manner. I'm sure the daughter appreciates your sympathy.
You said that the father was steaming mad and rejecting the girl, while the girl is becoming less and less forthcoming in conversation. I think that there are only two routes that you and her Dad could take. One route is the court method -- but it would probably prove ineffective and might damage the girl even more.
The other method is to win the girl with true love. Rather than the Dad getting angry at her, and rejecting her, help the Dad to realize that his daughter, who is only eleven, is already damaged by the divorce. On top of that, she's getting pulled in both directions by her natural parents.
Help the Dad to focus on simply loving his daughter unconditionally. Anger, and his rejection, will drive her away. It would also help if he or you explained to her how important communication really is -- but that's difficult, because the natural mother is probably blocking your way.
I can only think that his constant, warm love toward his daughter will eventually make a difference. He may have to counter the influence of the girl's mother. If the daughter sees that her father is always welcoming her with care and consideration and true unselfish love, then eventually she'll recognize his value -- and return his love.
It may take a long time. Her mother may drive a wedge between them. But what other choice does he have but to love his daughter so much that she finally realizes what a wonderful person her father is?
Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to his favorite motto: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”