Dear Amy: I’ve met a wonderful man. We’ve been dating for seven months — three online during COVID, and four months in real life.
We’re older (I’m 45, he’s 40) and have talked about moving in together and possibly having children. The problem is his ex-girlfriend. They dated for two years, then split up and stayed friends. Over the last 10 years, she’s remained a large part of his life.
She calls and texts him constantly. They go hiking and camping almost every weekend, and she attends all of his family events. I haven’t even been invited to a family games’ night yet, but when I am finally invited, his ex will be right there when I finally meet his siblings and their families. Oh, and because the family lives in the next town over, we’ll be carpooling with her.
While he says that I’m his priority, I feel like I’m fighting for a place in his life where there already is a girlfriend.
Am I wrong to think this is weird? Or should I accept that she is part of the family and suck it up?
— No Package Deal
Dear No Deal: Your guy’s close friendship with his ex might be unusual, but … let’s do you.
Why are you seriously considering cohabiting and having children with someone when you have such an important (and basic) question about his other relationships?
If I told you that your guy’s situation is not at all “weird,” would you rush forward with confidence that your own instincts and feelings would cease to matter so much?
Your feelings are completely valid. Because they are yours.
You and your guy are older. You’ve both lived half of your lives — and you have formed and have the right to maintain your strong relationships and friendships. But yes — other relationships shift and make way when you form a family with someone.
If this other woman has transitioned from an ex-partner to an every-weekend buddy and forever-friend, then, as your guy’s “priority,” you should not only be brought into the fold, but you should be put first.
“Priority” means: first. It’s hard to see how you are a priority when your boyfriend is hiking and camping almost every weekend with someone else.
No one else should decide what is right for you, but it would be wise for you to slow way down until you feel great about your place in this particular relationship triangle.
Dear Amy: My husband refuses to get the COVID vaccine. He thinks it is a “government plot.”
He even got COVID over the 4th of July weekend and had to be hospitalized.
He recovered but is suffering from recurring bouts of weakness and low O2 levels.
We are on opposite sides of the political spectrum and have managed to enjoy five years of marriage by NOT talking about politics.
However, I have seen what COVID did to him, how it made him feel, and I do NOT understand why he would want to experience it again.
It also scared me to death when we got the diagnosis in the hospital, but, because he “beat” it, he thinks everything is OK.
I feel this would be a dividing point in our marriage.
Dear TIA: I think it is definitely time for you two to talk about politics, and for you both to discuss your values, beliefs, and points of view.
Believing in a bizarro conspiracy theory is not a political statement, in my opinion. It’s just … bananas. Does your husband have similar theories about fluoride, humans landing on the moon, Pizzagate?
Having these challenging conversations now would be preferable to learning about your husband’s actual beliefs while you’re pacing outside of the ICU, or on a holiday to Area 51.
You might have successfully delayed these conversations for many more years, but the pandemic has forced some tougher truths closer to the surface.
Dear Amy: These are such weird times. I am reading about challenges in your column I never would have imagined encountering in my lifetime.
I guess I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your measured responses to most questions.
I don’t always agree with you, but I almost always like your tone.
— Big Fan
Dear Fan: Many of us have wished (ironically) to live in “challenging times.”
We should have been more careful about what we’d wished for!
In terms of my “tone,” thank you for your comment. I only wish my mother was around to read it.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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