Dear Cheryl: My first husband died, and I remarried a man who adopted my five children. He also died after we shared a wonderful marriage. I was very lonely after my children married, and I married for the third time to a wonderful, caring man.
The problem is this: What should my children call him? He's their stepdad, and I believe that, out of respect, they should call him Dad. But they insist on calling him by his first name, Mike. My 10 grandchildren also call him Mike, even though they love him very much. This has been a point of contention.
Every greeting card I receive is addressed "To Mom and Mike." That seems so very cold, almost as if they're keeping him out of the family.
When I spoke to our priest, he said that Mike is my husband so my children should honor him with the name Dad, especially since he's there for them when they need help. Is he right?
I hope you can end this disagreement. Mike has no children or grandchildren of his own, and I'd love to share my happiness and my family with him, but he feels like an outsider because the family doesn't accept him. — A Rose Is a Rose, but Is a Dad a Dad?
Dear A Rose Is a Rose: If ever there were a situation that called for a compromise, this is it.
I can see why your children are reluctant to call a third man Dad. In my opinion (and I hate to disagree with your priest), they should be allowed to continue calling your husband Mike.
On the other hand, your grandchildren should be encouraged to call him Grandpa. Have their parents explain to them that it would make Mike happy because he considers them his grandchildren.
Please explain to Mike that the way your kids and grandkids treat him is a far better indicator of how they feel about him than what they call him. There are far more meaningful ways to show respect than a name.
Dear Cheryl: I'm good-looking, in shape and outgoing and have a ton of fun interests. I'm athletic and love music, travel, movies, dining (out or in) and cooking. I'm thoughtful and creative and cannot believe I have not been snagged by someone!
I've dated men I've met at work. Disaster. I refuse to do online dating. I'm too old-fashioned and believe in serendipitous romance. The club scene is not my thing, either. I go to a church occasionally. Nothing there. I play sports and am active in professional groups as well. Nothing. The gym is a meat market, and I prefer to walk, surf and ski outdoors. Meeting people is too hard.
I've often remarked to friends, "Why doesn't someone in the supermarket or wherever just come up to me, say hi and ask me out?"
My friends say I'm crazy and that men don't act that way anymore. That's depressing. Don't men have courage anymore? Is porn too plentiful and rejection too feared? I don't have the answer, but I'm annoyed by the whole thing. — Waiting to Be Swept Away
Dear Waiting to Be Swept Away: I'm waiting for Richard Gere, but he ain't coming.
You've got a couple of options. You can keep doing what you're doing — nothing — and keep being "annoyed," or you can shake it up.
Get out of your comfort zone. Try internet dating. Give dating at work another chance. Join a more low-key gym. Approach a man you find interesting. Or are you too afraid of rejection?
Got a problem or a question? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not."