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by Abigail Van Buren

Parents Who Lost a Daughter Are Now in a Different Place

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I struggled for years to have children. After many attempts and disappointments we have exhausted all our options. It has been extremely difficult for me to accept.

My husband recently found his daughter from a previous relationship. He knew she existed, but his ex had kept the girl from him for many years. He is now ecstatic and wants to spend every minute with her. He tells me how happy he is to have a daughter. I want to be supportive, but it kills me.

The girl appears to have no desire to have me in her life. I don't know if I'll ever be able to view her as my stepdaughter. Yes, she's my husband's -- but she is his, not "ours."

I accept that my feelings are somewhat selfish, but I am not sure how to deal with them. I have been in and out of counseling with no change. Please help. -- NOT A "REAL" MOM

DEAR NOT: Stop beating yourself up for having unpleasant feelings. If your description is accurate, your husband has allowed his daughter to "clique" you out. While it's understandable that because of their long separation his daughter could be fixated on him and vice versa, he should let her know that both of you will love her if she'll give you the chance.

Look at it from her perspective. If she's a young woman, she is dealing with a lot of emotions right now. Try to be patient, treat her warmly when you see her, and give her a chance to get to know you. Good relationships aren't hatched fully formed; they take time to build.