It’s Tuesday, time for the anonymous mailbag to save you from coronavirus-related doldrums.
As always you can send your anonymous mailbag questions to email@example.com, anonymity guaranteed.
“This story gets a little convoluted so bear with me. I’m divorced and remarried. My ex-wife and I have a decent relationship and it’s definitely more pleasant when she’s seeing someone like she is now. I’ve met her boyfriend and he seemed nice. Last week, the boyfriend’s ex-wife tracked down my current wife on Facebook through some mutual connection and sends her a friend request along with a long message describing how her ex-husband, my ex-wife’s boyfriend, is a serial cheater. How he would hook up with women from Craigslist while traveling, how he was supporting “young, low-class” women that he was seeing, and how he slept with one of their friend’s wives among other things. She was clearly looking for us to get this information to my ex-wife to warn her.
Here’s where I need help. In every scenario I can think of, I lose. If the information is true and I tell my ex, she’s going to resent me getting involved, if it’s not true, she’s going to be even more pissed. If I don’t tell her and they get married and he goes bad, then I could have stopped it and didn’t which is awful. The only way I win is if I don’t say anything and the story was all lies and everyone lives happily ever after.
The other complicating factors are my kids. My ex and I have three kids, including two still at home, an elementary aged son and a high school aged daughter. I’m worried that our daughter could be exposed to this guy. So, beyond the potential addition of more disruption in their lives if my relationship with my ex goes bad or her relationship with her boyfriend goes bad, I have the concern that I’m allowing this guy near my daughter when, according to his ex he’s not above dating very young women.
Any thoughts on how to handle this?”
I think it’s pretty simple, you ask this woman, the ex-wife of your ex-wife’s boyfriend, to reach out to your ex-wife and share her concerns directly with her instead of with you. It makes no sense for you to be involved here as the rumor spreading middleman. It’s not like this woman knows your current wife very well or you have any reason to be the conduit for this information. She could just as easily share the information directly with your ex-wife without you needing to be involved at all.
As is, this is far too convoluted for you to otherwise get involved in. I mean, just think about how embittered this ex must be. She’s online stalking her ex-husband to such an extent that she reached out to his ex-husband’s wife to say bad things about him in the hopes the ex-husband’s wife would share her accusations with another woman. How in the world do you even figure out this connection? You have to be a world class stalker. Furthermore, how do you know any of this information is true? This woman sounds kind of crazy to me, honestly.
What’s more, maybe the reason he was cheating with these other people was because his ex-wife was totally crazy. Maybe that’s even why he got divorced. I’m not excusing his alleged behavior here, but his ex-wife isn’t exactly seeming normal with her behavior here either. Again, if her forward her accusations you’re spreading potentially untrue allegations about someone based on a source that’s clearly not impartial. Unlike what appears to have been a (somewhat) amicable divorce between you and your ex-wife, this ex-wife clearly hates her ex-husband.
There’s just no benefit to you getting involved in any way here.
I’d have your wife send her a message saying we don’t get involved in other people’s relationships, but you’re welcome to send that information directly to her yourself if you think it’s warranted. Then your ex-wife can decide how to handle this situation if the information eventually reaches her.
The other possibility, honestly, is you could go directly to your ex-wife’s boyfriend yourself and tell him that his ex-wife is sending unsolicited Facebook messages about how untrustworthy he is to your wife in the hopes that you’ll get involved in their relationship. That way you get ahead of the story and don’t find yourself getting dragged into it later via the crazy ex-wife.
But I still think the simplest, and best, solution is to ignore his ex-wife’s messages. Having been warned about his past behavior, however, you can keep your eyes and ears open going forward as it pertains to your own children and what his behavior might be like with them. I definitely think it’s a good idea to pull aside your daughter and let her know that if she ever feels uncomfortable about having another man in the house, someone who isn’t her dad, that she should feel comfortable coming to you with any problems with him.
But otherwise I’d stay away from getting involved in this drama.
But, remember, my boys are 12, 9, and five years old so they are quite a bit younger than your kids. They need a bit more structure at this age than older kids might. Sixth grade, third grade and pre-k as opposed to high school and late elementary. I think the older the kids are the more freedom you give them.
As long as they are finishing whatever school work they have, I’d treat the extended coronavirus break essentially like summer. (Except a summer where you can’t get a job because everything is shut down). Otherwise you’re going to spend all the time they’re with you trying to manage their behavior and they may come to resent that and hold it against you.
You and I and just about everyone reading this survived TV and video games and I’m pretty sure our kids will too. Sure, it would be better if your kids were studying SAT prep guides in their free time, but how many kids are doing that?
I’d keep the rules similar to what your ex-wife has established. With the quarantine rules in effect right now, I’m not sure this is the time to be fighting battles with your kids, especially if they are otherwise well behaved and taking care of the work their school is assigning.
“My girlfriend and I have been dating for 3 years now. I’m 24 and she’s 26. We currently work in cities a few hours apart but still manage to see each other most weekends. (Both out of school now as well, and working full time). She mentions how nice it would be to be in the same city, and I agree. Now and then we talk about how nice it would be to live together as well. However, I am not ready yet to move in with a significant other. I don’t think I’m emotionally mature, or want to give up the prospect of living with my friends for a bit longer, and I’m not sure I’m generally ready for that step. If she were to move to the city however, she would likely have to find a friend already here to live with. I would feel guilty that she has to do this, as she’s making the sacrifice and looking for a job in my city. I’m stuck in this middle ground of feeling bad saying no, but not thinking I’m ready. When that talk comes, how do I let her know I’m still 100% committed to the relationship, I’m just not sure if I’m ready for that step yet.”
If you want to be diabolical you tell her that you don’t want to move in together because couples that live together are less likely to get engaged and your goal is to get married to her one day. Tell her this way you’re just playing the odds and don’t want your relationship to end over living together before marriage. (The data on this is true, you can look it up. Couples that live together are less likely to get married. I suspect that has more to do with the socioeconomic status of the couples living together than it does living together killing marriages — couples that live together are more likely to be doing so for economics over romantics — but it’s still a decent line for you to drop to avoid having to live together.)
Telling her the truth is, of course, better than this. I’m not sure why telling her that you’re ecstatic that she’s moving to your city, but not ready to live together isn’t good enough. After all, you’re only 24. It’s perfectly reasonable that you might not be ready for this step.
But here’s a final couple of questions for you to answer: would you be willing to move to her town to be closer to her? If not, why not? And a second part of that question, if you did move to her town to be closer to her and wanted to move in together instead of living with a stranger in a new town, would you be upset if she didn’t want to live with you?
I think you need to answer both of these questions for yourself before you talk to her.
Put simply, it sounds to me like you’re not as much into this girl as you’re claiming to be.
“I am planning to start the construction of my new home between June and August of this year. We will use a contractor. The price to build is already high, but interest rates are low.
My question is what impact will Covid19 have on my ability to build a house? What impact will it have on price to build? I know there are lots of variables at play, and I also know there are far greater priorities at this time than building a new home; however, seeing as this project was already in the works, I’m curious as to your thoughts.”
I tend to think by the summer we will be through the worst of the coronavirus, but what does a potential shutdown mean for the construction industry going forward? In particular, could your home build be pushed back because workers have to finish other jobs before they get to yours? And could there be a surge in demand for building in the summer that isn’t satisfied by the existing labor marketplace?
I think these are all good questions.
But they’re questions you should be asking your contractor, not me.
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