Dear Amy:

I am involved in a fantastic long-term, committed relationship with the most wonderful man. We've been together for more than two years.

We are both professionals in our mid-thirties. I have had plenty of relationships but have never been married; he is recently divorced with no kids. We are open and honest with each other, but now we have an issue.

He has been trying to maintain a friendship with his ex-wife. I generally do not have a problem with this, because they had been together for about 18 years before he and I met.

He has told me that they will most likely be going on trips together occasionally with just the two of them. He has explained that he wants to continue to have a friendship with her and that there are some things they still enjoy doing together, such as skiing, scuba diving and golfing. He has said that he has no interest in rekindling a romance.

While I do not take issue with the friendship and the two of them "hanging out" occasionally, I do take issue with the two of them taking vacations. I enjoy those activities as well; in fact, he was the one who got me involved in some of them.

It's not that I don't trust him, but I do find this troubling.

He has acknowledged my feelings and agreed that if the situation were reversed, he would be upset, but he is going to do it regardless.

I am not a controlling person, but this has gotten me so worked up that I fear it may completely change our relationship -- in fact, it could be the deal-breaker.

What do you think?

Troubled in Chicago

What's that distant sound I hear? Ding, ding, ding, ding -- oh, yes, it's the alarm bells, and they're ringing in my cubicle, just as they should be screaming in your head.

I'll give you the benefit of my unvarnished reaction to this scheme. It's nutty. It's wacky. It's quite out of bounds.

It is wonderful that you and your guy are so good at communicating, but it appears that your guy is trying to gaslight you into believing that this vacation time with his ex-wife is a reasonable idea that you just need to wrap your mind around.

Your reaction to him should be, "Wrap this -- I don't THINK so."

I'm not saying that partners can't have opposite-sex friends. But when someone chooses a scuba-diving vacation with his ex-wife while his loving partner is standing in her living room in her scuba gear, well -- that's just mean.

Dear Amy:

Your letter from "Feeling Sad and Betrayed" struck a chord with me. I hope that she can learn that having her parents divorce doesn't necessarily mean that her family is falling apart.

My parents blew me away when I was 13 with the announcement that they were getting divorced because they were drifting apart.

I was very hurt and angry with them for being selfish. However, it took that divorce to bring me closer to my whole family, and now, as a 20-year-old woman, I am thankful they made that decision.

They are happier because they do not have to work exhaustively to maintain a failing relationship.

My brother and I bonded while supporting each other.

My workaholic father realized what family meant to him, and now he spends more time with us than ever before. My mother and I became best friends because we were always there for each other when times got tough.

It is incredibly hard in the beginning, but it does get easier.

Thankful in Fairfax

I have received so many thoughtful letters from young adults, reflecting on their parents' divorces. Thank you so much for offering support and optimism to kids who are going through this.

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

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