DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced for almost a year. It was an ugly divorce that became long, drawn-out and expensive. I have moved on with my life. My ex-husband, however, has not. He is in constant contact with my family.
My sister casually mentioned the other day that he had stopped by her office to "talk." He also calls my mother regularly and stops by her house to see her. He takes them to dinner and tries to act like nothing changed.
What he is really doing is getting information about my life while getting sympathy from them.
The final straw was learning that he had been invited to my nephew's graduation. I have explained to my family that I want no more contact with him and do not want to see him again. He told vicious lies and spread horrible rumors during the divorce that cost me all of our mutual friends. They all believed his lies and did not support me.
We had no children, so I see no reason to stay in contact. He won't let go of me and my family. What can I do? -- WANTS TO BE FREE IN ILLINOIS
DEAR WANTS TO BE FREE: It would be interesting to know why your family has continued to make him welcome. Are they enjoying the attention? The drama? Whatever the tie that's binding them, it is out of your control. And whether he is clinging to them out of neediness or the pleasure of sticking it to you is beside the point.
Even if the ghost of marriage past is lurking in the background, you ARE free. So live your own life, limit the amount of information you give to your family, and consider it "mind over matter." (You don't mind, and he don't matter.) The sooner you do, the sooner you will close the unhappy chapter of your life that includes him.
DEAR ABBY: I have a sticky situation at work. One of the men I work with, "Josh," likes to brag about all his sexual conquests. One of the women he brags about is "Pamela," another of my co-workers.
I don't think he's telling the truth because she is happily married. Should I tell her he's spreading rumors about her, or should I mind my own business? -- WONDER WHAT HE SEZ ABOUT ME
DEAR WONDER: By all means, tell Pamela what Josh is saying. She has a right to know and to defend herself. What Josh considers an affirmation of his charm may be construed as slander by her. And his harping on the topic of his sex life at the office could be considered sexual harassment. It won't stop until either you or Pamela complains to a supervisor.
DEAR ABBY: I am planning a 30th birthday party for my husband. I would like to invite friends and family to join us for dinner at my husband's favorite restaurant.
Because I have a small budget to work from and he has a large family, I can afford to pay only for my husband and me. Would it be OK to invite people to attend and ask them to pay for their own meal, and if so, how do I appropriately say that on the invitation? -- NEEDS TO KNOW IN FREDERICK, MD.
DEAR NEEDS TO KNOW: To invite people to a party and expect them to pay for their own meal is considered tacky. Since you can't afford to give your husband a party, instead invite your friends and his large family to your home after dinner to celebrate with dessert and coffee. That way you won't be criticized.
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