DEAR ABBY: Two weeks before my wedding, my mother announced that she was leaving my father. Now, two months after my wedding, their divorce papers have been filed.
I am 23 years old and should be able to handle the news, but I cannot. I have been devastated by the end of a marriage that I thought was a good one until only a few months ago.
My mother is now behaving like a college student. She parties all night, dates several guys at once, and calls to tell me about it. I have quit answering my phone when I see it is her.
I don't answer my father's calls either. All he does is complain about being lonely and broke, and a single father to my teenage brother.
I don't want to hear their stories or be their confidante. I need time to mourn the breakup of my parents' marriage. My own marriage is suffering because of the recent turn of events and it doesn't seem fair. What can I do? -- NOT-SO-HAPPY NEWLYWED
DEAR NOT SO HAPPY: Please accept my sympathy for the demise of your parents' marriage. If you were in the dark about the fact that they had been having problems until just before your wedding, it is understandable that you are in shock and grieving. You must also be wondering if what you thought was real was only a mirage.
For the sake of your emotional well-being and to protect your own marriage, I hope you will take the advice I am about to offer. Inform your mother that you cannot/will not be her confidante. Period. Then let your father know that although you feel sympathy for him, you cannot be his trouble dump either, because it's affecting your marriage. Explain that if he needs a place to "vent" -- and I'm sure he does -- he should do it with a professional counselor.
You may need counseling yourself, right now, in order to get your own head straight, so please do it now rather than later. Your problem isn't that your parents' marriage didn't make it to the finish line. It's that they hid their problems so well, you are no longer sure what a healthy marriage looks like