DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband and I have been divorced for five years. I have sole custody of our 6-year-old son, "Charlie." My ex lives five hours away with his current wife and her four children. He makes time to see our son only a few times a year.
Anytime he drives down to see Charlie, he always brings someone with him, whether it's his wife or one of her kids. He has never once come alone to spend quality one-on-one time with his son. I have asked him several times to come by himself so he can bond with Charlie, but he refuses.
Charlie is having foot surgery next month and will be in the hospital overnight. My ex wants to be there, which I agree with. But he insists that his wife be there, too. I understand she's our son's stepmother, but she doesn't play an active role in Charlie's life, and I don't think it's her place to be there. Our son needs his mother and father and immediate family, not the "step" family.
Am I wrong to not want her or any of her family members there? I feel it's inappropriate and that my ex should do this on his own. And, no, I don't have any feelings for him, and I do not want him back. I also hold no ill feelings toward his current wife. -- STRUGGLING IN THE SOUTH
DEAR STRUGGLING: Your ex, his wife and her kids are a package deal. Accept this and be glad he visits his son. Surgery is no fun and can be intimidating for a child. When it's time for the procedure, your son may need all the moral support he can get. So take the high road and be warm and welcoming. Your function is to support your boy, not be his gatekeeper. And if history is prologue, I doubt they'll stick around long.