Wedding Woes

You can choose Starla.

Dear Prudence,

My parents divorced when I was young, and my mom is an alcoholic who goes in and out of my life. Right now, she’s out (my choice). My dad married my awesome stepmom “Starla” when I was 10, and after a hard early transition, she’s been an amazing loving mom to me, even in my hardest teenage years. My dad is one of those fathers who works and pays the bills but wasn’t as involved as my friends’ dads.

Last week, my dad announced that he and Starla are getting divorced. I was shocked and really sad, and even more when I learned it was because he was cheating on her with my mom, and they are getting back together. I’m so angry and sad that he would choose her over Starla, especially because she hurt me so much. I feel like I’m being sliced out of my own family, and I want to cling to Starla for reassurance, but I don’t know how to talk to her without being crazy. She’s been calling and texting but I’m scared to answer. I’m on a waitlist for a therapist at my college, but it will be at least a month. What should I do?

—21 and Confused

Re: You can choose Starla.

  • Oh LW I feel for you. You can talk to Starla and gang out as much as you two both want. She’s probably hurt and grieving now too. You don’t need to push her away. 
  • First, take your time. There is no rush to deal with any of these people. I think LW could send them all a text, Starla included, that she is dealing with this news in her own time and way, and that she will contact them when she is ready. 
  • Sorry LW, your bio parents suck. Poor LW and Starla. 

  • I wonder what LW means by "without being crazy".

    I absolutely think that LW can reach out to Starla and even choose Starla if they want to.  Chosen family, to me, is more important than my bio family (my bio family is complicated).  I do think LW might want to discuss with Starla some boundaries of conversation for right now, b/c it will be difficult to manage each of their emotions about what they're both going through.
  • Definitely reach out to Starla. I bet she'd be happy to continue having a relationship with you. 
  • Oh boy LW.  All the hugs.

    I think you can talk to Starla now and work w/ your therapist.  At 21 start to work on your own exit plan if you need to from their house for the times that you're home from college.  Maybe you can look at summer jobs that let you stay on campus so you can work on you while you avoid them? 
  • I also think the LW should reach out to Staria.  I'm sure she thinks of the LW like her own child and is probably really worried that she is going to lose that relationship also.

    @VarunaTT makes a good point.  When the LW reaches out to Staria, they need to also let her know that all of this has been overwhelming for them also.  And conversations having to do with their mom or the upcoming divorce will be off limits.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Yikes.  Not the point, I know, but I hope the bio parents re-live a miserable life together 

  • As an aside, "Staria" is such an odd choice for a pseudonym.  But I kind of like it.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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