DEAR ABBY: I’m a 42-year-old divorced woman with no children. My ex-husband has a son whose life I was a part of for 18 years. When people ask if I have kids, my reply is, “Yes, I have a stepson.”
Why do people think it’s OK to say things like, “That’s not the same as having your own,” or “That doesn’t count”? Then they usually go on to ask why I don’t have children of my own.
My response is a big fat lie. I say, “It just never happened.” The truth is my ex didn’t want any more children. What can I say to these people to let them know that they need to stop and think about what they say and ask, because their word choice in this circumstance is hurtful to the point of tears? — Stepmom in California
DEAR STEPMOM: A person who would downplay your role as a parent is rude, thoughtless and not worth your time. As to asking why someone is childless, I have addressed this subject in my column before. While many folks start conversations by asking whether someone has children, it can be a dangerous question.
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I learned my lesson and stopped asking after having received an answer from one man that his son was doing life in prison as an accomplice to murder. Another man told me he had two children, a daughter and an estranged son who was also serving a long sentence for selling narcotics. Neither person was happy to have been asked. After that, I stopped asking.
I see no reason why you shouldn’t simply tell the truth about why you are child-free. Not having (or wanting) children is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s a personal choice that an increasing number of couples have opted for without regret.
Boyfriend’s surprise revelation
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been together for 18 months. Last night we were talking about doing more in the bedroom, and he told me that he is bisexual.
I have nothing against the LGBT community, but finding this out after so long shocked me. I’m worried now, and I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that he has sex with guys. I just can’t quite look at or think of him the same way.
I really do love him and can still see a future with him. I just don’t know how to handle this BIG news. Please, Abby, you’re my only hope. — Liz in Texas
DEAR LIZ: I would be curious about why your boyfriend waited so long to tell you. Because someone is bisexual does not mean the person is unfaithful and sleeping with both sexes at the same time. It simply means the person is attracted to members of both sexes.
You need to have further discussion with your boyfriend regarding his attitude about his commitment to you before deciding what to do about his “big” news.