Dear John: Exasperated With Her Ex
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I am seething over something my ex-husband recently did. We have joint custody of our two kids, a girl age 11 and a boy age 13. The 13-year-old recently came home from a visit to his father’s and informed me that his father gave him a condom “in case he ever needed it.” This was not something we discussed and it continues the pattern that was one of the reason we couldn’t make our marriage work. He never discusses things with me that should be mutual decisions; he just goes and does them. He actually justified this once by saying, “But if we had talked about it, you would have been against it”! I am livid that he would do something so important in our son’s life without discussing it with me or letting me know his intentions. I took the condom away because our son is a very immature 13, but I know I’m losing my perspective on this. I’m trying to separate the wisdom of what he did with the wrong way he went about it, but I’m so mad I can’t even think about this clearly. Some perspective would be appreciated.
This Is Why There’s An “Ex” Before “Wife”
There are two issues here. Yes, of course, your ex-husband should discuss these things with you before he goes ahead and does them. If he refuses to do that, all I can say is try not to let your frustration show and explain to your kids that parents should discuss things together and arrive at a mutual agreement before deciding what to do. You can still teach them how it should go even if it usually doesn’t go that way.
As far as this particular situation goes, I can’t criticize what your husband did even though I disagree with how he went about it. Whether your son is immature or not, he is at the age when he should know how birth control works, and the importance of using it should be impressed upon him. Don’t let your feelings about his immaturity delay this conversation if one (or both) of you hasn’t had it with him already. Regardless of how immature he may be emotionally, his body is developing and is not waiting for his mind to catch up.
Irritating or infuriating as it may be, I think you should continue to remind your ex of the importance of talking together about things regarding your kids’ welfare, and your son’s sexual development would be a great place to start.
I am trapped in the middle of the great “Christmas” vs. “Holiday” debate! I share an office with a co-worker who has made it her personal mission to keep the Christ in her Christmas and everyone else’s. She even stupidly wished someone working in a call center in India “Merry Christmas” and justified it by claiming, “Christmas is celebrated all over the world!” She has managed to annoy everyone within earshot for the entire past month. I have tried not to get drawn in, but it’s so hard! Do you have any ideas for a pithy rejoinder that will let her know what I think of how overbearing she’s being about this?
Not Feeling Merry
Dear Not Feeling Merry,
You’re wasting a lot of mental energy by letting this get to you. There’s likely nothing you can say that will get this woman to rethink her crusade, and if you try, she’ll simply decide you’re part of the problem. In the meantime, even people who are generally sympathetic to her point of view are probably beginning to grow tired of her. By the time you read this, you’ll have to endure it for just a few more days. I would try really hard to ignore her and refuse to let this bother you.
I have a question but I’m pretty sure I know what you’re going to say. A guy I’m not really all that interested in asked me to a New Year’s Eve party and I accepted because I really wanted to go to this party and I didn’t want to go alone. I like him enough, but there is zero chance for anything long-term. But now, a guy I’ve had a crush on for months and who I’m totally crazy about asked me to the same party! I would so, so very much like to go with him. I know it’s wrong to tell the first guy I changed my mind and go with the one I really want to go with, but I’ve (almost) made up my mind I’m going to do it anyway. What if I don’t and this guy goes with someone else and they hit it off and I miss my chance??? I know it’s rotten, but it’s not THAT rotten, is it? I might never have this chance again!!
Want To Start The New Year Right
Dear Want To Start The New Year Right,
I’m not sure what you think I’m going to say, but if you want to start the New Year right, that would be by honoring your commitments. This is pretty black and white. You’ve told the first guy you would go with him, he’s planned accordingly, and now you’re going to ditch him because a better option has come along? Come on. I’m not even going to get into the maybes – maybe you’ll hit it off with the first guy in a way you never expected, maybe the second guy will turn out to be not so great, etc. Even if the evening goes exactly how you expect it to, you should keep your word. If you don’t, though, it will be sweetly ironic if the second guy finds out how untrustworthy and opportunistic you are and decides he’s not that interested in you after all.
John is a middle-aged family man from Providence, Rhode Island. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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