Calgary Herald

Separated father shackled by his guilt


Q: I’m in a four-year relationsh­ip with a man I love. I’m mid40s; we both have good jobs, and share many interests. It’s the best relationsh­ip I’ve known.

The one major negative has been his ex-wife’s stubborn refusal to complete their divorce. She holds him hostage to her demands, and influences his adult daughter to be estranged from him through her own bitterness.

She’ll suddenly insist that he pay for new expenses, and refuses to finish their agreement until he agrees.

They were separated for four years before I met him, but she’s raised the bar higher since we got together.

She “needed” a more expensive house. Then the daughter needed her own apartment, as well as tuition, for postgradua­te studies in another city.

Two years later, she’s graduated, still living in that city but not working. Nor is her mother.

His ex also demanded he pay for her cosmetic surgery. She blames him for her “aging appearance” that prevents her from getting a job.

I want him to have a relationsh­ip with his daughter. Whatever he can afford to provide for her is his business. But the guilt and pressure from his ex are wearing both of us down.

Can our love survive this steady onslaught of negativity?

Worn Down Lovers

A: His ex-wife and daughter have such a strangleho­ld on his sense of guilt that he needs to talk to a therapist about it.

He may have made mistakes in his marriage, but he’s decided to leave, and has a responsibi­lity to himself, and you too, to move on in the best way possible.

Time to talk straight to his daughter — he loves her, wants to have a relationsh­ip, but won’t be jerked around by her. He should say what he’ll fund — say, six months more rent while she looks for work — otherwise, she has her “own floor” at her mom’s house for which he’s already paid.

Then he must make a decision, with his lawyer’s advice and with you, about his divorce.

You, too, may need legal advice.

Q: My friend’s marrying a man she loves from a distance. They’ve dated for years, from separate houses, and have travelled together on vacations … but never for more than two weeks.

Once home, she dislikes how he lives (he’s extremely messy), and his passivity when dealing with dependent older relatives. I think she’s “settling” because she’s in her 40s. What should I say?

Upset BFF

A: Say little. Ask some leading questions — e.g. when they live together, how will she handle their different levels of neatness? If she wants to discuss her concerns, you can make suggestion­s.

But if she’s “settling,” that’s her choice.


Divorce wars may dissipate if one side doesn’t react to pressure.

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