Ask Amy 12-24

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#1 Dec 24, 2013
Dear Amy: My ex-husband and I divorced two years ago, after 15 years of marriage. We have two teenagers. His divorce from his first wife was very acrimonious, and

I watched my parents go through a brutal divorce years ago.

We both decided to put the kids first and treat each other with respect. We communicate almost daily on parenting issues and attend major events in our kids' lives together; whoever has the kids for birthdays and holidays invites the other parent to participate.

If we were childless we would have gone our separate ways, but we both value the other as a parent and want our kids to feel the family core is intact. His girlfriend doesn't seem to have a problem with this, but the few guys I have dated have expressed concern that there must be something romantic going on.

I have told each of these guys at the beginning of the relationship that my ex and I are active co-parents, but it's not as if we have any physical interaction or private jokes when we get together. We never meet alone, and our focus is entirely on the kids.

However, my dates seem to feel I must "want it both ways" and the relationship doesn't work out.

Am I just meeting turkeys, or do I need to distance myself from parental interaction with my ex so my dates are not so intimidated? Disheartened

Dear Disheartened: This is your life, and ideally you will find a partner who accepts the totality of your life as is. Your dates might not be turkeys but they are making unfounded assumptions.

You need only ask yourself how you would feel if you became involved with someone who had a relationship with his ex-spouse as close as you have with yours. If you'd be completely unthreatened by that kind of closeness between other former couples, then you're good. There is someone out there for you, but you haven't met him yet.

Dear Amy: I am a 30-year-old man. My wife and I just purchased our first home.

Recently, my mother started returning some of the craft projects I made for my parents when I was very young. At Thanksgiving, she gave me a turkey crudely made of colored construction paper from first grade and a Pilgrim's hat I made in second grade.

At the time, I told her I was not interested in having these things returned to me and added that I would likely just throw them away. She asked why I would do such a thing, because some of them were so "good."

Returning from an out-of-town trip today, my wife and I were greeted by more of my holiday-themed elementary-school crafts spread throughout our home.(My mother checked on our cats while we were away.)

According to my mom, I should display these things as decorations in my own house. But I think that's weird. I don't have kids and don't have any emotional attachment to the objects. I resent her returning them to me (combined with shaming me for considering throwing them out). What should I do? Not a Child

Dear Not: You seem to be hyperaware of your adulthood, and so now you should act like one.

I assume background tension exists and there is (perhaps) a history of your mother not respecting boundaries. But this is not necessarily a malicious act on her part, and you could easily change the dynamic by acting like a mature human being.

Make sure your spouse has no interest in these childhood art projects. You should do whatever you want with these leftover objects (including setting a bonfire in your new backyard) and ask your mom not to decorate your house while you are away.

Dear Readers: I hope every reader wakes up tomorrow to a better and more peaceful world, transformed through generosity and wishes granted, and that everyone will take the time to be a better and more attentive family member and neighbor.

I hope that every child wakes up tomorrow with a new book on the bed, along with a loving family member who will read it with him or her. This is all I want for Christmas.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 Dec 24, 2013
Not having bee i that position, I am not sure how accurate this is, but I suspect the guys you are dating aren't expecting such as active Mom, meaning its not your ex they are concerned about but your attachment to your kids.

Teenaged years are times for pulling apart anyway. Your letter comes across like you are hanging on to them not for their sake but to maintain a core for yourself. As a date that would be off-putting. Flash forward to some variant of yesterday's letter where after 11 years of dating the guy would not re-marriy because his daughter had anxiety attacks.

If you want your mo to throw them out, you can do it too. Take down the velvet Elvis she hung while you are at it.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#3 Dec 24, 2013
LW1 - You are just dating turkeys.

LW2 - Oh, god. Just throw them away yourself. Your mother doesn't need to know after she's given the second grade turkey back to you.

LW3 - Merry Christmas!

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#4 Dec 24, 2013
1- Kinda what Pellen said, but I think it's a little of both your attachment to your kids and ex. Your dates prolly don't want to go to your daughter's basketball game and sit with your ex on "date night."

2- Face it, dude, your mother thinks your crafts are crappy and doesn't want them anymore, yet can't bring herself to throw them out. My mother still has, and uses, a napkin holder I made in shop class, and still hangs ornaments I made in elementary school on her Christmas tree.

3- Okay, Amy. Just for you, I'm giving my young nephews a copy of Fifty Shades of Gray.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#5 Dec 24, 2013
L1: I don't think you even need to bring this up right away. Stop informing them of this. Just date, keep it separate from your parenting practices. Then when you get into an actual relationship, the guy will have some context. You just are putting too much emphasis on your relationship with your ex. chill.

And these men aren't "turkeys" for not liking this arrangement youhave, since you seem to be going overboard. Daily contact for teenagers? How much minutae (sp?) do you discuss? How much contact is needed for teenagers? Do you discuss every freakin' little thing?

L2: toss them. She doesn't want them on display in her own home, but she feels too guilty to toss them.

I think Amy was a complete brat in her response.

Salinas, CA

#6 Dec 24, 2013
LW1: Team Red with a side of PEllen. You may be telling your dates too much too soon. You may be too involved in your children's lives and not have a social life apart from them. Just tell them that you and your ex are cordial enough to co-parent effectively. Leave out the 'communicate almost daily' part. I think it's great that you have a decent relationship with your ex. Unfortunately, people find that unusual. Also, I don't think your dates are all turkeys, but it is possible that some may prefer a woman with less baggage. Try keeping the conversation very light for the first two or three dates and don't bring up your ex.

LW2: Take pictures of the craft projects and store them in your computer where they take up less space. Then toss them.

LW3: Happy Holidays everyone!

Plant City, FL

#7 Dec 24, 2013
1: Hard to say with one side. Active parenting is one thing, calling every day to ask asinine questions "about the kids" is a bit odd.
My ex bf's ex-wife would call and ask where the glitter was in their old house. was so unacceptable, but under the guide of "for the kids." Really check yourself. Teens can speak for themselves now.

PS It's usually girls getting jealous, not the dude, so that makes me wonder if SHE is doing most of the calling him.

Since: Jun 09

Saint Petersburg, FL

#8 Dec 26, 2013
I think it's wierd that they have almost daily contact. If the kids were younger, I'd understand more. But my kid (who is 11) will be at her Dad's for the weekend and I won't talk to her every day. Sure, sometimes she'll call me to chat or I'll give her a quick call to see how a test was on Friday or something, but I also allow her to have time with her dad and her friends over there without having to sit on the phone with me. We do co-parent well and try and share special times (i.e. ex came over for about an hour yesterday to see her open some gifts, but then left), but daily contact seems a lot.

Plant City, FL

#9 Dec 28, 2013
Kids now, by their parents' fault, are tragically co-dependent.

I went to church camp every summer as a kid and we went without talking to our parents just fine. In fact, it was a blessing to be free of them, lol!

I was a counselor a few summers ago--never again. They texted their moms every day, all day, and whined about every little thing that didn't go their way. I was appalled.

Of course, they wore pj bottoms to church and we wore dresses....society is crumbling.

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