Friend is making a big mistake
Q. My close friend of many years just told me he’s going to move in with his girlfriend of eight months.
They’re both divorced and have a total of four children from their previous marriages. They’re looking for a house where they can combine their two families.
I met his girlfriend a few years ago. She was with her second husband then, and there’ve been stories about how she’d cheated on her ex, been through a lot of guys since, and is considered bizarre in her tastes and behaviour.
She’s at least 10 years younger than my friend.
He’s a good guy, and his ex-wife is a nice person. I don’t know what happened to end their marriage.
I’m worried about him, and whether he’s caught up in this woman’s aura, or whatever she does to attract new men. What should I say to my friend? A. Say little, and ask questions instead. If you repeat gossip about his girlfriend, it may be untrue and/or it may turn him against you and not believe your warnings.
Your questions need to show you care about him and his children, and not just come across as judgmental. Example: what are the qualities he loves in her, how do they blend with his personality, what gives him confidence about combining families and lifestyle choices at this stage in their relationship?
He doesn’t have to answer you. You can only hope that he thinks about his plans more deeply.
Husband not honest about ex
Q. I recently became aware of my husband’s significant amount of contact with his ex-wife. I’d expect some, as they have a teen together, but it was contrary to what he had me believe.
He’d always made it clear we were both to have firm boundaries regarding contact with ex-partners. He’d said numerous times that it was disrespectful for either of us to have communication unless absolutely necessary.
He prides himself on being an honest man. Yet he was quick to remind me he didn’t like my having contact with my ex-husband.
When he took my phone to confirm a conversation I said I’d had, I then took his phone.
I was shocked to see the great deal of contact that had occurred.
His ex-wife is happily married and I have no suspicions about an affair. I’m not threatened by their relationship, but very hurt that he’d falsely portrayed their relationship as being almost non-existent.
I expected answers, but was told to mind my own business.
I expected some remorse or acknowledgement. Instead he’s angry with me. I don’t understand why I’m the bad guy, when he’s the one who hurt me with his dishonesty.
A. You’re not “the bad guy.” He’s transferred blame back to you to deflect, from his own double standard.
It’s a common tactic for a controlling personality, and I suspect this description of him isn’t a surprise to you, which is why you’re so upset.
He doesn’t like or permit your contact with your ex. But he does what he wants in his own ex-spouse relationship.
Your feeling hurt and not understanding his response, only allows this control dynamic to persist. Meanwhile, the fact that he grabbed your phone to check on you is a red flag.
Tell him he has nothing to fear from occasional contact you have with your ex. But any house “rules” have to be equal and agreed.
Any further displays of his anger call for recognizing that there’s a relationship problem that you’ll need to face, hopefully together and with counselling.