DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced for eight years, and have recently become good friends again with my ex-husband. He has always been an attentive father to our 11-year-old son.
Last year, after a second divorce, my ex hooked up with a woman half his age. She's a 21-year-old ex-stripper who hasn't worked a day since she met him. I'm not one to pass judgment, but this gal is a clingy, lazy gold-digger who spends my ex's money like it grows on trees. She's also moody, demanding, and a "party animal," according to our son and my ex's other son.
The problem lies with our boy. He detests this female. She tags along for every father/son event and refuses to stay at home even when my ex drives our boy back and forth for visitation.
Our son's birthday is coming up, and I am throwing him a party. He really wants his dad there -- but NOT his dad's girlfriend. His dad doesn't want to hurt her feelings, and I don't want to cause any scenes. How can I resolve this? -- FAITHFUL FLORIDA READER
DEAR READER: OK, your ex's girlfriend is flawed, insecure and ever-present. If you bring up her shortcomings again, he will only become defensive.
Encourage your son to explain to his father how important it is to him to spend some time alone with him. Most boys need one-on-one with a role model -- a time for "man to man" conversation and bonding. The presence of a third party, regardless how ravishing she may be, prevents this. And while he's on the subject, he should tell Dad the nicest gift he could have for his birthday would be the woman's absence at his party. It may not work -- but I guarantee it will open up some interesting dialogue.