DEAR AMY: My conscience is bothering me. Two years ago, I divorced my husband of five years. It was a second marriage for both of us. We loved each other, but our marriage was deeply troubled.
I frequently caught him lying. He had many inappropriate relationships with other women. His spending was out of control, putting me in serious financial jeopardy.
Worst of all, during a two-year period of our marriage and on five occasions, he was physically abusive. Not a slap or a shove, but full-out rage. I thought he would kill me.
Fast-forward to today: He and I continue to be close. We see each other frequently and have a lively sexual relationship. I have no illusions about his other activities and have always assumed that he is dating other women, as I have been dating other men.
Still, I was shocked to learn that he has been in a serious relationship with a lovely young woman. I looked her up on social media, and I can tell she is head over heels in love with him.
He has told me they are talking about marriage and children, although he is conflicted (about me). While she knows about our continued “friendship,” she has no idea how entrenched we continue to be, nor does she know that he has been sexually intimate with me the entire time he was courting her. Further, she does not know that he owes thousands of dollars on credits cards and has not filed his taxes in two years. Creditors call me daily looking for him. Clearly, he also has not told her about his history with domestic violence.
As a mother, I feel protective of her innocence and cluelessness about him. She seems to want children and the white picket fence. I believe he will ruin her life. What obligation do I have to share any of this information with her? I don’t know what to do. -- Conflicted
DEAR CONFLICTED: I cannot imagine remaining in a relationship with someone you (at one time) feared would kill you. This is a dangerous choice.
Because of the overwhelming quantity and severity of your ex-husband’s issues, yes, this woman should be told about him. Obviously, because this man is violent, you need to figure out a way to warn her while protecting yourself. Doing this anonymously might be best.
This presents an opportunity for you to take a fresh look at someone who presents risk to your emotional and physical well-being. Divorce was a great idea; now you should leave the rest of the relationship.
DEAR AMY: About three years ago, my husband and I gave an antique vase that had been in the family to our son and daughter-in-law, who had just moved into a new house.
We recently saw this vase in our daughter-in-law’s parents’ home. We said nothing but feel uncomfortable about it. What should we do? -- Hurt
DEAR HURT: Once you give a gift to someone, the object belongs to the recipient, and the recipient can choose what to do with the gift.
Given this, the only thing you truly own in this scenario is the right to your own feelings. You describe this vase as a family antique, and I can imagine it is tough to see that it has strayed from your son’s home.
You should express yourself, without expecting any particular action or reaction. You say to your son and daughter-in-law, “We were surprised to see Aunt Matilda’s antique vase at the in-laws’ house, but we are happy it seems to have found a good home. We do wish you had let us know that you planned to regift it, however.”
DEAR AMY: “Turned Off” was annoyed at her niece, who was having a small, private wedding but had invited family to a larger (gift-receiving) reception. This aunt needs to be reminded that this wedding is not for or about her, but for and about the marrying couple. If she doesn’t like this arrangement, she should stay away. -- Been There
DEAR BEEN THERE: I agree.