"My Stepdaughter Is Ruining Our Marriage"
Her Turn, continued
"While my own childhood was very different from Dana's, I can relate to her. Dad, who worked as a manager for a life-insurance company, never had time to be with me. Mom worked full-time as a secretary, and when she was home, she was preoccupied with what everyone else thought. She hated the way I looked: I was never thin enough or pretty enough, so she put me on diets from the fourth grade on.
"She sent mixed messages. One minute she'd treat me like a confidante, then suddenly she'd become cold and even pretend that a conversation had never taken place.
"I met my first husband at a party after college graduation, but the marriage lasted only a few years. I knew he was an alcoholic when I married him, but I thought I could make a difference. The one good thing that came out of that marriage was Jack.
"I met Warren at the tail end of my marriage. I was working at a record company, and Warren was a freelance photographer shooting album covers. The chemistry between us was tremendous. We used to talk for hours. We were best friends, and after my marriage ended, we became lovers. Jack bonded with him immediately. I knew Warren had had a drug problem, but he goes to support-group meetings faithfully, and he's been clean for three years. He's got his own business now-- he's developing a Web site.
"In the past, we always balanced each other. But as the tension with Dana escalated, we've lost that. Warren is often evasive. If I ask what he did during the day, or who just phoned, I can't get a straight answer. The whole mess with Dana has left me totally confused."