I recently got married after a tumultuous four-year relationship. He was married when we met and started dating.
He's told me that his marriage was in name only. He did get divorced.
There was reluctance on my part because of how the relationship started, but we kept coming back to each other.
We are happy. Our only fights are about his ex-wife who’s forbidden my husband from ever having me meet his children.
She believes I’m not a good person because she blames me for breaking up her family.
I do have some guilt for dating him while he was still married, but that's in the past.
I don't know if we should respect her wishes. And if I do, how will our lives be when the most important people in his life aren’t allowed to be in mine?
Worried New Wife
His ex-wife is still reacting. She may become less rigid, or not.
But you have the option of not letting this ruin your marriage.
Much depends on the children’s ages. While they’re young, he can start to mention you casually, refer to some of the fun things you do together so they get interested.
If he has joint custody, he can discuss with his lawyer his rights to have the children visit in the home he shares with you.
They’ll need time to adjust to your presence (especially if their mother’s badmouthing you).
But you and he shouldn’t fight over this. He needs to fight for his children to be part of his real life, which includes you.
I’m wondering whether I should try to reconnect with a former friend.
We share many of the same social groups so are frequently in small group settings with mutual friends.
We live on the same street and I used to feed her pets whenever she was away, at least once a month and up to a week at a time.
The last time she asked, I had to decline as I was arranging to be away myself at the same time.
When she returned she sent me a text asking if I was attending an event, she didn’t want to go by herself.
I was dealing with a family situation but didn’t want to ignore her so gave a one word answer indicating that I didn't know yet - “Maybe?”
Her response was, “they have cookies.”
Before I could reply she sent a series of texts about what a horrible person I was for not accepting her kind invitation to accompany her.
I had family and young children visiting so was too busy and shocked to think of an immediate response.
That evening I wrote to apologize for the misunderstanding. Her response again was what a horrible self-centred person I was.
She hasn’t spoken directly to me since then and we both continue to attend the same book clubs, etc. How can I cope with her?
Friend Turned On Me
“Self-centered?” She is the epitome of that trait, repeatedly seeking favours then lashing out when you can’t deliver.
Don’t give up your book club or any social gatherings because of her rudeness to you.
Carry on with the people and activities you enjoy. If she suggests you attend an event together, just say you’ve made other arrangements and do so.
Avoid having an open argument about what happened. But if she persists in seeking more favours, say you’re not going to risk her temper again.
FEEDBACK Regarding the writer who’s financially supporting a live-in boyfriend who’s often miserable (Dec.24):
Reader – “I’m a family law lawyer and strongly recommend that the writer breaks up with him before they’ve been living together for three years.
“In some legal jurisdictions, their relationship will be considered common-law at that mark.
“There’d likely be a spousal support obligation on the writer’s part.
“Countless clients have told me they saw signs that their relationship was unhappy in the early years, but stuck with it, hoping it’d get better.
“By the time they get the courage to leave, the legal and financial aftermath is much more complicated and costly.”
Reader #2 – “The mooch might be able to claim partial ownership of the house and even spousal support.
“I learned the hard way, through a partner with whom I’d cohabited for less than four years and with whom I had no children.”
Tip of the day:
Newlyweds need to slowly work together on helping children adjust to a new person in their parent’s life.