DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Kathy in Huntsville, Ala.," who complained that her fiance's ex-wife was too chummy with her fiance and his family. Talk about someone who has no idea how lucky she is! Kathy needs to rethink her objections and count herself, her fiance and his daughter fortunate.
My ex and I have a son. We're both remarried and live in close proximity. Due to joint custody, all four of us parents must communicate on the telephone as well as during drop-offs and pick-ups. How horrible it would be (and has been) if we were not on good terms with one another. We all attend his baseball games, etc., and extended family is often present. We all have a great time socializing with one another. How awful it would be for everyone concerned (especially our SON) if we kept to separate sides of the field and glared at each other.
Kathy has no idea how miserable her fiance's ex-wife could make her life. The ex-wife is trying very hard to be agreeable. Both sides need to do their best to build an amicable relationship. -- BEEN THERE IN CHICAGO
DEAR BEEN THERE: That's practical advice from someone who's been in the trenches. I hope "Kathy in Huntsville, Ala.," reads it and heeds it. Other readers wrote to comment on her letter. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: How can "Kathy in Huntsville" resent her husband maintaining amicable contact with his ex-wife? I come from a broken home. My parents divorced when I was 10, and if my parents had stopped being close friends after the divorce, my sisters, brothers and I would have been crushed. Moreover, it would have given us multitudes of opportunities to play one of them against the other.
The husband's relationship with his ex-wife is a part of him and should be accepted with the package. If Kathy expects him to behave as though she's the only woman in his life, or feels she can't trust him with the mother of his child, perhaps it is the "beautiful new life" she had planned -- and not the man -- that she's in love with. -- GLAD MY PARENTS STAYED CLOSE IN GEORGIA
DEAR GLAD: You have made some excellent points, and you'll get no argument from me. It's to everyone's advantage to maintain a friendly relationship for the sake of the child involved. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: My husband was divorced from his ex-wife 15 years ago. He brought two darling little girls into our relationship. Although it was sometimes difficult, we somehow managed to create an extended family, which included his ex. Once she came for Christmas morning breakfast. She occasionally took our son when we wanted to go out (he loved being with his half-sisters). One year, my husband even took us both out with all the children for Mother's Day breakfast. The girls were always delighted to be able to spend time with both families together.
Abby, please tell "Kathy in Huntsville, Ala." that having an amicable relationship with an ex-spouse makes for happier, more well-adjusted children. The girls are now lovely young ladies who are grateful that the adults could set their own insecurities aside to bring a little more joy into their lives. -- A.A. IN MERRITT ISLAND, FLA.
DEAR A.A.: I think you said it very well. Your input is greatly appreciated.