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Amy: This year Santa takes a back seat to Solomon

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • September 21, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Dear Amy: My brother and his wife are divorcing after 35 years of marriage. It is becoming an ugly affair, and their two grown sons are taking sides. This is especially difficult for us as we and our children have always been close to all of them.

So far we’ve been able to remain supportive without taking sides, but the holidays will bring a difficult dilemma. Since they are our only extended family, we have always spent all of our holidays together. We are not sure how to handle the upcoming season.

My two nephews (both single) no longer are speaking, and my sister-in-law has no family of her own left. I can’t imagine leaving anyone out, but having them all at the same time would be a recipe for disaster. Do you have any suggestions as to how to handle this situation?

Amy says: The best way to handle this extremely challenging situation is to do your best to be open and generous to each family member, understanding that you are all muddling through.

I suggest a Solomon-like splitting of this first holiday down the middle. Contact one party and invite him (or her) for Christmas Eve and then another for the next day — and let your nephews know you’d like to see them so they can make choices about what they want to do. Don’t disguise or hide your intentions — or give in to manipulations from anyone who attempts to engage you in this unfortunate war.

Over time you might be able to successfully maintain a friendship with your sister-in-law and both nephews — ideally, this is the goal — without your brother feeling threatened by it.

Take a step back

Dear Amy: I just broke up with my boyfriend. We were together for five years, bought a house together and were even talking about marriage. Then we just fell apart. I have been single for four months, and every guy I meet or go on a date with doesn’t seem to be what I want.

Amy says: Life isn’t a candy store where you get to choose someone to complete you on your own timeline.

You don’t want to hear this, but it is too soon to find your next partner. The universe is sending this message by littering your path with guys you don’t want (an unhappy woman on a rebound bender isn’t exactly relationship bait, either).

Pay attention to the signs and spend the next few months working on you. You need to figure out what went wrong in your previous relationship — and the part you played in it — in order to do everything differently next time.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com.

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