Me and my wife are still legally married but we aren’t together any more. The reason we separated is that caught her in our bed with an old boyfriend. I got into a fight with the guy and the cops were called. Every time I see her, I get mad all over again. My parents know all about it but still invite her to every single holiday and family gathering. They’re conservative Catholics who don’t believe in divorce and work it out because of the kids. I told my parents that I was not comfortable with that and that they should stop doing inviting her but they do it anyway. I’m thinking about not even going over there next week.
Steve: Been there, done that. My dad dumped my mom when I was 12. My mom — with me and 3 kids who were each 5 and younger — was outraged. Every day. Every minute. Mom screamed and yelled and tried to ban everyone. My dad was lousy, but he never screamed at us, never tried to make us part of the fight. Can you guess who got more time? Make your kids number one. Don’t block them from seeing their grandparents and mom. Step beyond your anger for your ex-wife. Tough, yes, but you won’t regret it.
Mia: Since family togetherness can be overrated, I suggest you show up for dinner even if only for a little while. If even that’s difficult maybe swing by for dessert and then take the kids out to a movie.
I never know what is the right thing to do. I’ve been a dear friends with a woman, I’ll call her Susan, who also has been friends with another good friend, Alison. But now look at what happened. Susan was dumped by her boyfriend who then began dating Alison! Needless to say there’s fury now. And each woman insists I take up on their side. I really like each of them and am heartsick that each side wants me to break with the other. If I do nothing, both of the women might dump me. What can I do?
Mia: Your friend Alison broke the girlfriend code. That’s a lowdown. And now you’re trying to maintain a friendship with both of them? You’re foul as well. By continuing your friendship with Alison, it’s like you’re saying that you’re OK with how she treated the other woman. Susan should dump you for that.
Steve: You could worry about it, think about it, never know the right answer or — do nothing! It’s not your war. Be nice to each of them. Offer advice, or just listen to what they say. One or both might get angry, but you stay out of it. Susan and Alison have to do it. Let them know your aim is true.