DEAR ABBY: I was in a six-year relationship with a woman. We shared a home and have a child together, whom I support. She has primary custody, and I provide financial support and exercise my visitations regularly.
We broke up six months ago and she immediately moved a man into the house. Since they split up, she has done this again with a new person.
I have moved on and am content being single and focusing on my career and parenting my son when he’s with me. Where I struggle is when these new men want to meet me. I don’t feel obligated to shake their hands, be polite and friendly or be a supportive, smiling face.
I’m disturbed by the speed she moves into other relationships. I feel like it sets a bad example for my son regardless of how “nice” these men are. There is no record of abuse, and I do believe my ex is a good mother, just maybe lonely and very dependent on having companionship.
I understand life goes on and people move on, but at what point is this unhealthy? Am I wrong for not wanting to be friends with my ex and her new “guy friend” whenever she decides she should be accompanied for custody exchange?
I refuse to speak to or acknowledge these men. I am not confrontational, but I literally have nothing to say. Any advice how to handle this moving forward? — FAKING SMILES
DEAR FAKING SMILES: I subscribe to the philosophy that one can never have enough friends. You don’t have to approve of your ex’s boyfriends, but it is in your child’s best interest to maintain a relationship that approximates cordiality. It won’t hurt you to shake hands and be on a first-name basis with the men who occupy space in your son’s life even temporarily.
When we can’t change something, sometimes we have to accept it — and that’s what you would be wise to do.
DEAR ABBY: I’m sure there are many others who would like to know this: I’m trying to downsize. I have a World Book Encyclopedia set from the ’70s, plus yearbooks I’d like to find a home for. My kids are gone and living on their own, and the books haven’t been opened in years.
I refuse to throw them in the recycling bin. Any ideas? — JOY IN NEW YORK
DEAR JOY: I did a quick search online to see what other people might be doing with their old encyclopedias. A solution popped up that might help you: Immigrants who are learning English as a second language may be able to use them if you offer them in a yard sale.
A high school in your area might also be able to use them.
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