I'm Just Say'n

Carolyn Magner is not a professional therapist, shrink or even a very nice person. Her advice is meant to entertain you, not solve your terrible, desperate problems. E-mail Carolyn at [email protected].

Second Best Dad


Father feels left out of family after divorce

Dear Carolyn

I am a divorced father of three young boys. My ex-wife has just remarried and the boys have a new dad. It kills me to see how happy they are with him. I know that’s selfish of me to resent the good relationship they have with their step-dad but I can’t help it. I feel left out and lonely. They cry when I pick them up and beg their mother to not make them go with me. I do the best I can but I’m not home enough to really be in their life. My apartment is small but it’s all I can afford since I pay child support. I am sure my ex talks trash about me to them.

Should I just give up trying to see them?


Dear Billy,

Hang on there, Buster. You are divorced from your wife, not your kids. No matter how great their step-dad is — and, yes, you must be happy he’s great — you are the dad. Period. Little kids are fickle but they eventually grow up. You pay your child support, insist on your visitation rights and move forward. Steadily, honestly and with love. In time, they will circle back around. Or not. You can’t control that. All you can control is how honorably you treat your parental obligations. If your ex is talking trash about you, it’s more of a bad reflection on her than on you. Don’t play that game. Good luck. It’s not easy but it can be done.

I’m just say’n,


Dear Carolyn,

My daughter is an 18-year-old beauty. Men fall out of their chairs when she walks by. I used to be a beauty, too, but a hard life has wrecked my looks. I know she’s lucky to be so attractive, but to be honest, I worry about it. Men are pigs and she has no idea how much trouble her good looks can bring her. She’s a smart girl and is going to college to become a nurse. Still, I worry about her all the time. I don’t want her to put all her eggs in the beauty basket like I did.

What should I do?


Dear Suzy,

What do you want to do? Put a bag over her head? Because you can’t do anything about her external beauty. It sounds like she’s on the right track and not nearly as concerned about her looks as you are. I suggest you encourage her in her studies and focus on getting yourself a hobby other than worrying.

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I’m just say’n,


Dear Carolyn,

I am sick and tired of people assuming my husband cheats on me when he’s on the road. We have a strong marriage, a supportive family and great kids. When I tell people what he does for a living, I get questioned about his fidelity. I know some guys use this job to cover for their bad behavior, but I resent all truckers getting lumped into one bad group. What should I say when I get hit with this stereotype?


Dear Becky,

I’m sure I’ll come up with a snappy answer but my first thought is that you need to take the opportunity to set the record straight. Inform the ignorant that the truckers you know, including the wonderful one you married, are honest, hardworking family men and women doing the kind of work that keeps the country running. Say it calmly and with conviction and you will be doing your part to improve the image of the American trucker. Get mad and give the mean but clever reply I’ll come up with at 2 a.m., and you’ll just confirm their opinion.

I’m just say’n,


Dear Carolyn,

Are you still around? I remember reading you when you were Dear Betty. You must be super old by now.


Dear Pete,

Put it this way: in dog years, I’m dead.

I’m just say’n.

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