Q: My ex’s new wife and I are really trying to get along for the sake of the kids. We have five between all of us. There have been some rough times, but I think they are behind us. I find I actually like her. A couple of times at coffee she has shared something that indicated she has a distorted version of what went wrong with my ex. I think it might give her a false sense of security – and that worries me because I fear she is facing the same thing I did. For example, she recently told me that she asked my ex if his drinking had ever been a problem in our marriage, and he told her no. That’s not true. It’s what broke us up. He’d drink and not come home. After years of dealing with it, I left. Do I tell the truth or do I keep my mouth shut?

A: It’s a fine line you walk when you become cordial with your ex’s new partner – and it sounds as if you are becoming more than merely cordial, maybe even friends. As communication becomes easier you are bound to learn things about each other that can be both comforting and confusing. It’s a very tricky relationship. Our advice? Keep your mouth shut for now. We have come to accept that what was once true about a person may not be true now. He may have been a liar in the past, realized how his behavior affected his relationship, and decided not to make the same mistake again. That does not necessarily mean that she’s “better” than you, just that he has learned to make better choices – and thank goodness for that.

The fact that your ex drank too much while he was married to you has little to do with the decisions she must make if he’s still drinking. Since you’re divorced from your ex, your main concern is how his drinking affects your children, and if that becomes an issue, then both his new wife and you can work together to help him realize he needs to get help.

 

Jann Blackstone-Ford, Ph.D., and her husband’s ex-wife, Sharyl Jupe, authors of “Exetiquette for Parents,” are the founders of Bonus Families (www.bonusfamilies.com).

 

– McClatchy-Tribune