Q: My ex cheated and broke up our family, which we worked hard to blend for more than 20 years. By the time I left I was pretty disgusted with his antics and moved on quickly. I remarried about six months ago.
My ex was awful during the breakup and made our adult children choose with whom they would spend the holidays. This holiday is different. He is texting me that he “wants me in his life so he will do what he has to do to make that happen.” I don’t know what that means, nor do I want to subject my husband to these games. What’s good ex-etiquette?
A: Around the holidays I always get questions about spending time as a family even though there has been a breakup. It’s like people watch “The Kardashians” all year long and then around the holidays switch to the Hallmark channel.
You said, “I don’t know what that all means.” Yes, you do. Could be that your ex is now seeing the error of his ways, but the reality is, even if that is so, you are now married to someone else. That means your allegiance is to the man to whom you are now married, so make sure no matter what your ex says to you in text or otherwise, you respond as a married woman. If you fear your ex is playing games and you want to nip this in the bud, respond accordingly.
For example, “Yes, we will always be in each other’s lives. We share children and I will check to see how they feel about us all spending the holidays together” will not give him false hope or perpetuate any games. However, if you respond with, “I want you in my life, too, and the holidays just makes our divorce all the more real,” you are fueling a very dangerous fire.
In other words, if you don’t want to subject your husband to the drama — don’t. Do not say or text anything you wouldn’t want your current husband to read.