DEAR ABBY: I recently broke up with a man I had dated for more than two years. While we were together he gave me many gifts of jewelry.
Recently when I was dressing to go out, I started to put on a necklace that went with my outfit, then hesitated because it had been a gift from him. I knew I'd be seeing him that evening and that I would be meeting his new girlfriend.
Would it have been OK to wear the necklace? Most of the things he gave me were animal-related because he knew I love animals. If someone asks me where I got it, as they often do, what should I say? I don't want to jeopardize the friendship we have or my potential friendship with his girlfriend.
- Mixed Up in the South
DEAR MIXED UP: An appropriate answer would be, "It was given to me by a friend." Your question implies that you decided against wearing the necklace that day, and I think you used good judgment.
DEAR ABBY: I am the 49-year-old single dad of an incredible 7-year-old daughter. I have been separated from her mother for four years. Since that time my ex has had a few relationships, one of which produced another child.
Three months ago she met a new man and has decided to get married, even though their courtship has been brief. I'm trying to minimize the impact on our daughter, but everything I say to my ex comes across as toxic. Any suggestions?
- Conflicted Father in Virginia
DEAR CONFLICTED FATHER: There is nothing you can do to control your ex's behavior. But you are right to try to minimize the impact on your little girl. Do not allow her to be caught in the cross fire of your anger and her mom's defensiveness. While I, too, question your ex's judgment in marrying someone she has known for only a short time, there is nothing to be gained by "spewing toxin."
In your interactions with your ex, think before you speak, count to 10 to mellow your tone and focus on the fact that you are the stabilizing force in your child's life. It's your job to remain strong and steady.