My girlfriend of eight months was separated from her ex-husband for a year when we met. However, he won’t sign their separation agreement.
We’re not yet discussing marrying, but the idea of moving in together has arisen.
We’d both prefer that their separation be legally settled first.
She gets frustrated and irritable because he’s stonewalling her. They’d already hashed out the terms of the agreement before we met!
Whenever she calls her lawyer to go after her ex, it costs my girlfriend money for the lawyer’s time.
Also, until they settle their financial matters, she can’t be sure of how much her settlement will be.
She suspects that her ex is wearing her down to squeeze more money out of the deal.
What can she do to push this along? What can I do to help her?
It’s important that you enjoy your time together as its own narrative.
Try to separate your relationship from the drama of this man’s stonewalling activity.
However, your girlfriend must insist that her lawyer contact his lawyer to move this action forward.
Perhaps if it can be shown that the ex is being obstructionist, she can ask the court to order a settlement (with her ex having to pay court costs and added legal fees).
Her lawyer may have other suggestions, but a plan’s essential.
Added costs to her outweigh the emotional toll of having her ex still wielding control over her life.
My boyfriend and his mother live alone and I enjoy spending time with both of them. It’s also convenient to go to work from their house, so I stay overnight.
But I cannot stand that my boyfriend's mother often smokes inside the house, even when we’re still at the table after dinner, without asking if I'm okay with it.
My father used to smoke in the house years ago, but ever since he quit smoking, I detest the smell inside the house.
It makes my clothes reek of smoke. Recently, we’d just changed into our expensive formal attire for a wedding when she started smoking.
I’m too ashamed/scared to say anything to her, because I don't want her to be mad at me or think anything negative of me.
My boyfriend’s repeatedly tried to tell her to stop smoking in the house, but she still does it.
Smoked and Upset
It’s her house. She can do what she wants.
Don’t misunderstand - I empathize completely. Having smoked myself many years ago, I became super-sensitive to smoke after I quit. I choke and cough easily when there’s been smoke anywhere.
That said, I don’t sleep over or hang out where people smoke regularly in their own home because the smell is everywhere. It’s me I’m protecting, not just my clothing.
Usually, I believe that the adult child is the one who must ask his/her parent to change behaviour that’s affecting the other partner. But he’s failed… perhaps because he just tells her to stop.
In this case, try to explain how it affects you. You’d have to understand that she’s truly addicted to smoking and it’s very hard to quit until she has strong motivation to do so.
Ask if she could please smoke outside when you’re around. If she agrees, thank her and say you hope she’ll one day improve her chances for a longer healthier life by quitting. But don’t preach… just say it once.
If she doesn’t stop smoking at home, sleep at your own place.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who’s wife threatened to call police when he kissed her and grabbed her “butt” (Oct. 20):
Reader – “Section 265(1) of the (Canadian) Criminal Code defines assault as the intentional application of force, or attempt or threat of application of force, to another person without his/her consent (or in circumstances where consent is vitiated, such as by the age of the other party).
“When the force applied is of a sexual nature, such as kissing, that act could constitute a sexual assault, if the spouse doesn’t consent.
“Similarly, grabbing his wife's bottom could also be found to have committed a sexual assault.
“What should be emphasized is the importance of seeking the consent of one's partner in advance of any sexual act, no matter how minor that act may seem.
“The failure to do so brings with it the risk of criminal consequences.”
Tip of the day:
When a separated ex tries to maintain control, be pro-active about finding a legal plan to end it.