Dear Abby: My ex’s refusal to pay child support angers my fiance

The 9-year-old daughter wants both her dad and her future stepdad to join her at holidays, but the bitter groom-to-be refuses to participate.

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DEAR ABBY: I divorced my husband of 12 years. We were together for 16. We had a 4-year-old at the time we separated. To avoid possible loss of the 401(k) or to have to pay him alimony, I didn’t ask him for child support. I knew he wasn’t able to afford it at the time. He has since gotten a good job but hasn’t offered to financially support his daughter. My new fiance has no respect for him because of this.

I have let it go to keep the peace so we can co-parent and my now-9-year-old daughter won’t have to see what is going on. This is becoming a problem on holidays because we’ve always celebrated with her together. She has grown to love that we do this for her. However, my fiance doesn’t want to be a part of those special moments. He doesn’t think my daughter would mind, and he doesn’t want to risk losing his cool in front of her.

This is putting a strain on our relationship. Is it wrong of me to want him to fake it so we can all get along? Or is he wrong to make other plans to avoid these situations? — FOR HER SAKE IN GEORGIA

DEAR FOR HER SAKE: Because your ex-husband’s employment circumstances have improved since the divorce, have a calm, adult conversation with him. Many exes would not have been as understanding as you have been. Because he can now afford it, he should share in the cost of raising his daughter. If you can reach an agreement, have an attorney draw up a document in writing. However, if he isn’t willing to step up, contact a lawyer who specializes in family law to discuss what your next steps should be.

Also, with your new engagement, YOUR personal circumstances have changed. Your fiance should not be compelled to interact with your ex if it makes him uncomfortable.

DEAR ABBY: My husband passed away a year ago from a long ordeal with Alzheimer’s. Before he died, I invited my soon-to-be retired sister to come live with me. We had been close throughout our lives, and I thought it would be good for both of us.

My problem is, I have casually dated several men since my husband’s death. I have welcomed the companionship and the affection I had been missing long before my husband passed. My sister, who is somewhat reclusive, has expressed that I shouldn’t be doing this and has gone so far as to say that she doesn’t want to live in a “whore house.” She also makes derogatory comments about any gentleman I have introduced her to.

I think that, at my age, I should be able to do what I wish in my own home. But because of how she reacts, I no longer have any gentlemen or women friends over because all she does is denigrate them. I’m tired of walking on eggshells around her. Are there any options other than asking her to move? — LIVING AS I WANT IN WASHINGTON

DEAR LIVING: No, there aren’t. Your sister should not be ruling your social life. The sooner you help her find another place to live, the healthier it will be for both of you. Start NOW.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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