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Blended Families:
“I don't trust my mom's boyfriend.”

Dear Annie,

My mom started dating this new guy about a month ago. I've grown up without a dad...so it's really weird. I snooped and saw some emails back and forth between them. One of them said: "Hey there HOT babe!" And then he was talking about marriage. That just shocked me. I have talked to this guy 2 times in person. I know it was wrong of me to read her emails, but I'm not sure this guy's for her. He just seems mysterious and it kind of scares me.

I don't want to see my mom hurt and I don't want anything to be rushed. I'm really uncomfortable around him but I try not to show it.

Finally I talked to her and she got angry at me. I feel like I'm being ignored and it's not the greatest feeling. I told her it made me sad when all she talked about was him... she got even more angry and then made me feel guilty so I forgot about how I really felt. I'm just really tired of hearing about him... And I know if they get married he will be in my life, but it's a little too fast for me. I just need time to take it all in.

I've tried so many ways to deal with emotions... but they're not working. I've got a sister, but I'm in 7th grade and she's in 12th and will be gone to college soon. I feel really alone and depressed. I've been skipping breakfast and sometimes lunch and I don't know if that's affecting me. I try to eat and I want to but I just can't stop thinking about my problems and I end up throwing my lunch away. I'm really confused on what I should do.

EMO

Dear EMO,

I'm sorry to hear that your mom is having trouble listening to you without getting angry and defensive. Maybe you hit a nerve (do you understand that expression?).

You're not alone. Talk to your sister. The age difference means nothing. You are sisters of the heart and there's no one who can better understand how you are feeling about this pending change in your family. Yes, she'll be gone to college soon, but she's here now, isn't she? Talk to her. Take a walk together. Connect. You'll feel better.

As for skipping meals... Not a smart idea. I understand that stress can make you lose your appetite. But did you know that hunger is an intense physical stressor? In other words, if you don't take care of your body and eat good foods, rest, keep yourself hydrated, etc., you are increasing your stress levels?! Also, when you're stressed (and you don't de-stress by getting support and taking the time to calm down, relax, and think about your options) your body's immune system can start having trouble fighting off infections. Stressed out people tend to get frequent colds. The cold weather's coming and you don't want to get sick.

All of these are reasons why you should take care of your body, your spirit, and your emotional health.

Have you got a school counselor that you could talk with?

By the way, take a look at this. It's a guide I wrote for parents to help their kids through emotional times, but you can use it to help yourself.

In friendship,

Annie

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