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Ask Anne: Relationship AdviceAsk Anne:
Relationship Questions

Cowardly Stepdad

Sun, Mar 31st 2002

I am 26, and I have two teenage half-brothers from my mom's 2nd marriage to my stepdad. My mom and stepdad married when I was 8, and he travelled a lot for his job, so he wasn't around alot when we were growing up. I never knew my real father. This question is about my stepdad, who moved out from living with my mother about 2 years ago, after 16 years of marriage. I accepted this as the possible prelude to divorce, since my stepdad said he was very unhappy. But there has been no legal separation or talk of divorce in 2 years, simply the fact that my stepdad lives his life on his own and tells the family nothing about his escapades. Yet, he still pries into our lives on a regular basis, as he says, "because he cares about us." I recently found out that he is living with another woman, but he has not had the courage to admit it to any of us. It's obvious to me, and my mother has her suspicions, but I am trying to keep out of it. I have said nothing about this to my mom, even though I know who the woman is and where she lives. I know it is my stepdad's responsibility to come clean, but he's a coward. Problem is, I hate the secrecy and his behavior makes me so mad I can't see straight. He has offered to help pay for me to return to college so I can pursue a better career. So I don't really want to rock the boat and compromise the opportunity I'm being offered, by confronting him. He could take it as a threat that I will reveal his secrets to my mother, even though I have no interest in doing that. That's his job. How do I reconcile my deep feelings of anger and disgust toward my stepdad in order to maintain a calm and neutral stance? How do I deal with all my rage without it coming out to hurt my mom or my brothers, or jeopardizing my stepdad's offer to put me through school? HELP!!

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