Q I've been living with a man for five years; we are in our 40s. He was married young and has three grown sons. They separated 15 years ago but remain unusually close. His mother died. First, I was invited to a family get-together at his mother's home, then my boyfriend called his ex and I was uninvited. My boyfriend says his ex is immediate family. I was upset and hurt. What do I do?
A Take a good hard look at your choices.
This guy has been divorced for 15 years, with you for the past five, and ousts you from a family gathering in favor of the ex because he regards her as family and you aren't.
That is a huge red flag. Your guy is still in love with his ex or still so emotionally intertwined with her that his priorities are out of whack.
The man should stay in contact with his ex -- they have children together and a past that obviously included his parents -- but if you're living together, you certainly are family. If he doesn't think so, it's time to ask yourself what you're doing with him.
There must be clear boundaries when dealing with the past and present -- where the attachments to the past end and the new allegiances begin. Your guy has made it clear that his allegiance is to his ex.
Go to the funeral if you want to pay your respects, but it's not an occasion to have a showdown with your boyfriend or the ex, nor is it the proper occasion to publicly establish your place in his life. If that hasn't become evident in the past five years, it's doubtful it ever will. It might be time to move on.
Reach Dr. Jann Blackstone, the author of "Ex-Etiquette for Parents," at firstname.lastname@example.org.