ASK ALMA: My cheating ex wants me to befriend his daughter

Dear Alma,

I joined the Air Force after graduating from high school. It seemed like the best decision for me and my boyfriend at the time. We wanted to be on our own and start a new life together. We promised to remain faithful to each other, until we could get married once I was settled and sent to my duty station. Well, all that came to a halt when I found out another woman was pregnant by him. He tried to apologize and tell me that he still wanted to get married, but I couldn’t. I was heartbroken and just couldn’t bear the thought of co-parenting this child that would be a constant reminder of his betrayal.

We found each other on Facebook last year, so we started communicating again. We both apologized and had a long conversation about how we could have better handled the situation. I forgave him. I mean after all, life carried on. We’ve both been married and are both currently divorced. I don’t have any children. He has four. We met a few months ago and although there weren’t any heavy flames, we decided we will remain the best of friends. He’s now seeing someone else, so we agreed to stay in touch and talk often.

His oldest, the one that broke up our relationship, will start college next year in what’s currently my hometown. He says he’s excited that we’re talking again, because she doesn’t know anyone in the area. He has mentioned on more than one occasion that I can become her family away from family.

I’ve got to be honest, Alma, I don’t think that’s something I want to do. I can honestly say I’m over what happened many years ago, but I don’t want to meet his daughter. How can I let him know, “No thanks,” without coming off childish about the situation?

Signed, Cheating Ex Needs My Help Now

You’re coming off childish and immature, because that’s still where your heart is. TBT, you’re stuck in that summer after high school graduation, and that’s a long, long way away from forgiving. You’re still so deep in this yearbook of a broken heart, you can’t even turn the page. Let me help you let this go, because honestly, enough time has passed for your heart to have healed.

Take my hand and let’s face your truth. Here’s where we take a minute to grieve the perfect relationship you thought would last forever. Over the years, you’ve been able to fantasize and worship this extraordinary courtship that never was. You said you’ve forgiven him, but ahh raah, my sista, I’m not seeing that. Not in your words or actions.

Entertaining forgiveness alone hurts and constantly reminds you of the pain unless you forget. What you’ve gotta do is, erase, delete, zap, remove, shazam, be gone – Umhm, get it allll ooooout! Yes, yes, that’s right, remove it completely from your recollection. I know this takes determination, practice and prayer, but that’s okay, you can do it.

Before you make your decision based on a twenty year-old emotion, lace up your big girl sneakers and invite her to meet for lunch. The encounter will update your gut, give clarity to your heart and make room for the forgiveness you speak of.

Step out in maturity and faith. You aren’t that teenage girl whose heart was broken by her daddy anymore.

The circumstances of her birth, in relation to you, are not her fault. That baby girl doesn’t know details I’m sure, or at least I hope. He most likely speaks highly of you and your friendship since high school. No dirty details were necessary in the discussion. I think you may find that she’s a lovely young lady. One who happens to be in your city all alone.

The way you handle a situation at 20 should be vastly different from the way you handle it at 40. Flip the script and be the blessing she needs at this time. You never know, this acquaintance might only last a season or a semester, open up to it. I’ve got a feeling meeting her will warm your heart, allow for forgiveness, and bring about a positive resolution to what was once a painful memory.

Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.