Q: My ex just called me to ask if I would meet her for a Christmas drink after work — she said she wanted to coordinate presents for the kids. Truth is, I’ve been here before with her. She gets a little nostalgic every year about this time, sometimes making me feel uncomfortable because she hits on me. Our kids are now teenagers and there’s not much present coordination needed. Plus, my fiancee is very intimidated by my ex’s familiarity. Should I go have a drink? Not sure of the rules here.

A: Actually, you know exactly what to do: Don’t go. It’s up to you to set boundaries for your relationship with your ex — especially if there is someone new in your life. If you don’t make your boundaries completely clear to both women, you are asking for a world of hurt. Your ex will keep hitting on you and your fiancee will make your life miserable because she’ll be angry that you don’t take a stand with your ex. So, man up and say, “We can talk about present coordination over the phone — I’m in a relationship and I don’t think it would be appropriate to have a drink alone with you.” If she tries to make you feel guilty because “it’s in the best interest of the kids,” just continue to explain that you will always be the kids’ father and are there to discuss their welfare at any time, but meeting alone for a drink is not necessary and you aren’t going to do it.

It’s not uncommon for a divorced or separated parent to attempt reconciliation around the holidays. As one of our clients put it, “It’s not the other person you long for so much as the completeness of family.” That’s a hard one to beat — especially around the holidays when it’s all about family. That’s when divorced or separated parents look to each other to once again feel “complete,” but if they haven’t addressed the problems that split them up, those problems return with a vengeance after the holiday nostalgia is over. The kids are then hurt twice — once during the initial breakup and again when they are disappointed that their parents will not reconcile after all.

Bottom line: Having a drink with your ex will serve no good purpose. It will perpetuate the drama you say your ex creates around the holidays, give her false hope for reconciliation and possibly alienate your new partner. For what it’s worth, “old times” and alcohol are a dangerous combination. If you are committed to keeping your ex at arms’ length, start a new holiday tradition and don’t go.

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

— McClatchy-Tribune