Dear Amy:

I am dating a man whom I share a daughter with, while -- until a few days ago -- he dated another woman. He met this woman during the time we separated while I was pregnant with our daughter.

Once the baby was born, he practically begged for us to get back together. I accepted him, but I also have been sharing him with this other woman for the last two years.

He and the other woman just broke up, and now it seems like he is blaming me for what she has done. Long story short, she cheated on him.

Now, every time I come around him, he doesn't want to see me. He acts like I am bothering him. I am sure that it is because this other woman has hurt him. Just a week before their relationship ended, he was promising me marriage and the whole nine yards. He told me that he was almost ready to end things with her and thanked me for being patient for the last two years.

The day that they broke up was supposed to be the happiest day for us. It was our chance to live our lives together without all the sneaking around. If that is true, then why does it seem that we are coming to an end too?

In Strange Love

Ah, where to begin. First of all, I think that we need to find another word for your relationship with this guy, who, after all, is the father of your child. Somehow, "dating" doesn't seem to quite cover it.

I'm not going to sugarcoat this for you. He is a jerk and you are a fool. Sometimes, jerks and fools seem to get together and do all right. Their most obnoxious characteristics seem to cancel one another out.

You, however, need to get a clue. I hope you want your daughter to grow up with an idea of what healthy relationships are all about. You could start with this very basic lesson: You do not share your baby's daddy, sneak around with him, or wait for him to be dumped by another woman in order to be with him. You don't let him jerk you around and make you pay for his mistakes. That's just dumb.

To answer your question, this relationship is over. If your guy wanted to be with you, then he would choose to be with you. Clearly, you have made it very easy for him to be with you in the past. Now that any roadblocks have been removed, he's moving on.

I hope that you will get your act together and determine that your relationships from here on out will be healthy and mutually satisfying.

Dear Amy:

In a recent column, a reader asked you how to handle a sister-in-law who refused to acknowledge the reader's surname when writing to her and her husband.

I have had a similar ongoing issue with my sister-in-law, but the problem is that she refuses to acknowledge me at all! When addressing mail to my husband and me, my sister-in-law writes "Joe Smith and Family." It is never "Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smith and Family" or even "Joe and Mary Smith and Family."

My husband thinks that she just doesn't know any better, but I think she knows exactly what she is doing. She doesn't address mail to her other brother and his wife this way.

Amy, we have been married for almost 20 years, and I have never made a big deal about this to my sister-in-law, but I find this very hurtful.

How should I handle this situation?

Forgotten Wife

You shouldn't have waited 20 years to handle this, but since you did, you need to go gently. Say to your sister-in-law, "I know that this sounds like a small thing, but it bothers me that you don't include me when you address mail to us."

She will probably tell you that she considers you covered in the "and family" part of the address, and you can tell her that you would really like it if she would include both of your names from here on out.

If she continues to disregard your very reasonable request, then you know that you have a problem.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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