Annie's Mailbox: My husband keeps ex too close

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Dear Annie: Can you please explain to my husband why it’s not a good idea to play nice-guy to your ex-wife on Mother’s Day? He secretly invited his ex and her mother to my Mother’s Day brunch, knowing I would object.

I have nothing against these women, but I don’t want to share all special occasions with them. He justifies this by saying it’s for his son, even though it means I have no “special time” with my daughter and stepson. Everything includes the ex.

I’ve warned him several times that his refusal to let go of his ex-wife will force us into divorce court. Today, I am following through on my threat. Instead of being man enough to admit he made a mistake and apologize, he chose to make excuses, saying, “If you are going to fault me for being a nice guy, that’s your problem.” So now his incessant need to seek his ex-wife’s approval has put our marriage on the rocks.

Ever since I met him, he has gone out of his way to put my daughter and me in the middle of family outings with his ex-wife and her family members. We even spent our summer vacation with his ex-sister-in-law and her husband.

I feel like an intruder in my own marriage. Worse, he has been picking on my daughter, a normal teenager and a good kid who stays out of trouble. I think deep down he’s hoping to chase us off so he can go back to his ex-wife without looking like the bad-guy. Well, he’s going to get his wish.

— The Ex-Mrs. in New York

Dear New York: We understand why your husband might want to be nice to his son’s mother, but all this togetherness is a bit much. You could be right about his motives, and one way to find out is through counseling. Ask him to go with you to work on the problems in your marriage before it is too late. If he refuses, go without him, and make sure you are making the best choices for yourself and your daughter.

Dear Annie: I have a few friends who think it’s OK to take a doggie bag home from a buffet. They carry a plastic bag with them in order to put food in it and then stick it in their purses when they leave the restaurant. Is this stealing? Can a person be arrested for it?

— Questioning in Missouri

Dear Missouri: This is up to the restaurant. Most places provide a doggie bag to hold leftovers from a sit-down meal for which you have paid. The cost of a buffet, however, assumes the food will be eaten at the restaurant. If you are curious, ask the management what their policy is and what they do about those who don’t follow it.

Dear Annie: Thank you for your advice to “Almost 21,” whose friends are pressuring her to binge drink on her 21st birthday. Our handsome, intelligent, successful son died at age 34 from binge drinking. He was a big guy, tall and muscular, and looked the picture of health. We knew he liked to party and warned him against drinking too much, but he said his friends “watched his back.”

Well, the night he died, those friends put him in a recliner to sleep it off and then ignored him. By the time they realized he was not breathing and called 911, it was too late.

Alcohol is a depressant. It lowers the heart rate, respiration and gag reflex. Our son choked to death on his own vomit. There are no words to describe the grief of losing a child in the prime of life. Even after months of therapy, I am still devastated.

If “Almost 21” isn’t concerned for herself, I hope she will be careful for her parents. They would never get over losing her.

— Grieving Mom

Dear Mom: Our condolences to you and all the other grieving parents who wrote to warn this young person of the dangers of drinking.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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