Dear Annie: I am finally divorced. My ex and I have a minor child together. He has met my new partner, and they get along great while at our son’s sporting events. I thought it would be healthy for our son to see us as friends.
I also thought it would be nice to meet my ex’s new girlfriend since they’ve been a couple as long as I’ve been with my guy. I made several requests to introduce myself, but she refuses to meet me. I find this odd, because she helps take care of my son when he’s in my ex’s home. It seems to be a control tactic on her part.
My ex never stands up to this woman about her treatment of me, and although I’ve never said a nasty word to her, she sends me ranting emails regularly. She once mailed a four-page hate letter about my parenting skills. I feel bullied. For the record, my ex is kind to me when she is not around. But when he’s on the phone with me and she’s nearby, he becomes rude and hostile. I’m sure he’s putting on a show for her. I’ve always promoted my child’s father in a positive light, but I am tired of this infantile behavior. It’s exhausting.
Requests, questions and messages about school activities often go unanswered, or I get one-word responses. Then he accuses me of not keeping him informed. My family has suggested that I stop communicating with him. What do you think?
Dear Texas: If you have an opportunity to talk privately with your ex, calmly explain that it is difficult for you to deal with his inappropriate behavior on the phone, and you would appreciate it if he would be civil in your interactions. Otherwise, you will expect him to get his information through the school, and you will instruct the office to include him. His girlfriend seems abusive to you, and it’s a shame your ex doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to her. (She may be abusive to him, as well.) We trust she does not take this out on your child, but please keep an eye on that.
Dear Annie: I just left my dermatologist’s office after waiting an hour to see him, and I’m furious. Don’t doctors realize that their patients’ time is also valuable? Another doctor left me sitting in his office for two hours, and I was the second appointment of the day. When I asked the receptionist why the long wait, she told me the doctor likes to flirt with the nurses at the hospital. This same doctor charged me for a hospital visit after he popped his head into my room to say he was running late and didn’t have time to see me.
If doctors know they are likely to run late, why don’t they stretch the time between appointments? I’m sick and tired of physicians expecting their patients to finance their fancy homes and golf memberships while they treat us so poorly.
Fed Up in Louisville
Dear Fed Up: Some doctors cannot help running late if they have emergencies. And others are working to schedule less crowded appointments or to phone patients when they are behind. But your most effective policy is to find doctors who are more accommodating to your schedule. If you consistently wait more than an hour for a regular appointment because the doctor is “flirting,” tell the doctor (not the receptionist) that you will be looking for another physician and why.
Dear Annie: “Retired Teacher” said that school counselors are not helpful when it comes to family or emotional issues.
I am here to assure you that “Retired Teacher” is wrong. In my 14 years as a high school counselor, I have wiped many tears, counseled thousands of students, held hundreds of family counseling sessions (after school, unpaid) and helped students work through death, suicide, rape and more. My former students often seek me out for advice after graduation and have invited me to their weddings and baby showers. Several students, and their parents, have commented that I am the ONLY adult they will confide in.
Green Bay High School Counselor
Dear Annie: You have printed letters about adoptees searching for their biological families, but I think people ought to look at this in a different manner. If you don’t know your biological family, you also won’t know whether the person you fall in love with is a sibling. Everyone needs to know who his or her family is.
Just a Thought
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