Dear Annie: Six months ago, I became involved with a man 20 years my senior. It has become evident that his ex-wife is still very much in the picture.
They divorced 30 years ago, when he found out she was cheating. He gave her the house and half of his earnings until their children were grown. Yet he still phones her and asks whether she needs anything. Those "needs" are usually financial, in spite of her cushy job and mortgage-free life.
What sent me over the edge was a recent visit to his mother's house. I randomly picked up a family photo of his parents' 50th anniversary party, and there she was - right in the center.
I have voiced my displeasure loud and clear: Either I am "it," or I am out! He says she is family. What is a divorce exactly if people are going to exchange gifts and phone calls and show up at family functions?
- Too Little Too Late
Dear Too Little: Every divorced couple is different. Many remain friendly with each other. Those who have children together have a lifelong bond, no matter how old the kids are.
The in-laws may still consider the ex to be part of the family and so invite her to all of their functions. That is their business, not yours. While giving her money is not necessary, your boyfriend is not going to stop contacting his ex simply because you don't like it. If you cannot deal with that, better to get out now.
Dear Annie: I feel sure that, were she to pick up pen and paper, my mother would be among those parents wailing over their "heartless" children's "abandoning" them. My mother would say that she was a loving, wonderful parent, and I'm sure she believes it.
Annie, this is a woman who told me every day that she wished she'd aborted me.
When I was very little, she helpfully explained the term so I would know exactly what she meant. Very rarely are abusive parents capable of comprehending that they are, in fact, abusive. There is no child on Earth who wants to not have parents. If your kids have cut you out of their lives, there is a reason, and that reason is YOU.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column.
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