My husband and I divorced three years ago and now our daughter is getting married. The wedding will be this June and I don't know how to handle being with my former husband and his new girlfriend. My heart is still hurting. Do you have any words of advice to help me survive the encounter?
Divorced and Distressed
Dear Divorced and Distressed,
Seeing your “ex” with his “next” won't be easy, especially when it’s at your daughter's wedding; it’s an emotional time to begin with, and one of those occasions that naturally stirs up a lot of thoughts about family, love, and committment. Honestly it will probably hurt like heck. But preparing yourself will certainly soften the impact. Know beforehand that the experience may shock and confuse you, and that any negative feelings you had during your split may come flooding back. In an ideal world weddings are supposed to be pure and joyful occasions, but the truth is that they are always complicated. Don’t get yourself down if you have some mixed emotions during the wedding, and if you struggle a bit. That’s just part of life.
You probably won't be happy about the encounter, but the good thing about being a survivor of tough times is at least it will be easier than it was during the divorce. The hardest part is over. This experience may feel like a small step backward emotionally, but really it’s a step toward realizing that you and your former husband are no longer together, and trying to gradually move past those feelings of hurt. Your ex-husband’s relationship is not about you, nor is your daughter’s wedding. But both are opportunities for you to realize that life moves forward, people change, love is important and complex, and the best you can do is keep trying.
Most importantly, remind yourself that the wedding is for your daughter and her future husband. I’m sure they’re aware of the difficulty of the situation, and will be sensitive to it. They’re both adults, and they can handle some complexity. But don’t let the past interfere with their happiness and the joy that should accompany their nuptials. You may want to scream and shout, or run and hide, but try to keep calm, cool, and in control of your emotions. The fact that your ex is attending your daughter's wedding with someone other than you isn't a slap in the face to you, it’s just your ex having a life.
One little “Zelda” trick may come in handy: wear a rubber band on your wrist. When your emotions start going sideways, discretely snap the rubber band as a reminder to get over the past and move on to a more positive future. A little elasticity in your life may help. Finally, everyone expects tears at a wedding, so go ahead and shed some if you need to. It’s supposed to be an emotional day, and you wouldn’t want to be a stone-cold automaton any more than you want to be the hysterical vengeful ex. Congratulations on your daughter’s big day; it will be tough, but it will also be wonderful.
Licks and wags,
My dog is constantly getting urinary tract infections and I'm wondering if you have any “inside information” that might help his situation?
Dear Piddle Riddle,
To pee or not to pee?...that is the question. Actually it’s not much of a question until one has a urinary tract infection. Then it becomes a very painful decision. These nasty infections are caused by bacteria in the urethra and bladder, are awfully painful, and if left untreated can infect the kidneys and blood and become life-threatening. You mentioned that your dog is “constantly getting urinary tract infections,” so I am going to assume that you have been in consultation with a veterinarian who, when necessary, has prescribed antibiotics and other treatment. If not, your first stop should definitely be a visit to the vet.
But there are also steps you can take at home to decrease the incidence of urinary tract infections. Essentially, you want your dog to be peeing frequently and with high volume. The most important point is to make sure he has access to plenty of clean, fresh water. You can't force your dog to drink, but some dogs are picky about water, and we've discovered a new product that is encouraging Zoe, ZeeZee and me to drink like fish. Our owner was browsing through the latest copy of the Doctors Foster & Smith catalog when she spied the new Dogit elevated drinking fountain (drsfostersmith.com). The ergonomic design (it looks like a futuristic cross between Sputnik and Starwars' R2-D2) was intriguing and the fact that it continually circulated AND filtered the water was the selling point that made her pick up the phone. ZeeZee and Zoe like to lick the cascading water from the sides of the sphere, while I prefer drinking from the constantly bubbling top. Trust me... your dog will want to get his paws on one, and our water consumption has definitely gone up since it’s been around. Of course, my favorite water bowl is this big porcelain basin kept in a small room off of the living room in our house, but it’s generally locked up for some reason, and even worse, people keep peeing in it! Maybe you can explain that one to me.
Another way to get your dog to increase his fluid intake is by moistening his dry food with a little bit of water or chicken broth. This can also help with digestion and prevent dry food from absorbing a lot of our water and further dehydrating us. Water is necessary for almost every function the body performs, so it’s important that you provide your dog with access to a lot of liquids.
Finally, if you have an indoor dog it can also be helpful to increase the frequency with which he pees by letting him outside more often and taking him out to places where he’ll smell other dogs’ scent. By allowing him outside more often you’re give him more opportunities to pee, and by taking him around the scent of other dogs, you’ll give him an irresist-a-bull urge to leave his mark. Hopefully these tricks will give your dog the need to have peed, and will help make urinary tract infections a thing of the past.