August 12, 2020

By Marcy Sugar

By Kathy Mitchell

August 12, 2020 4 min read

Dear Annie: I was divorced in 1972 and was given custody of our 2-year-old son. As much as I didn't want the divorce, my husband was an alcoholic who refused help. I finally realized it was the only way to protect my son. My ex did not use his visitation rights and never paid child support.

I remarried when my son was 4. My new husband wanted to adopt him, but my ex at first refused to relinquish his rights. When my son was 6, my ex called early in the morning (drunk) and said adoption was OK. When our son turned 10, my ex called wanting to see him. I refused, saying it would be too disruptive to his life.

When my son was 18, I asked whether he wanted to know anything about his biological father, but he declined. I asked him again at 21, saying that people can change and that he should be prepared for the day when his bio dad shows up on his doorstep. He didn't care.

Our son is now 45, and my ex recently called wanting to have our son's contact information. Instead, I gave our son his biological father's contact information. He had no interest and tossed it away. He considers my husband to be his father.

To appease my ex (and hopefully stop him from trying to track our son down), I told him I would send him general information about our son's life, along with a few pictures. But now I'm having second thoughts, because I know neither my husband nor our son would approve. I have done nothing so far and am stressed about the situation. I would appreciate your opinion. — Second Thoughts

Dear Second: If your ex wanted to track down your son, he could probably do so without any appeasement from you, but we understand why you are willing to indulge him with photos and information. Nonetheless, you should not have made such a promise without consulting your son. It is his decision, so talk to him. Explain that you don't expect him to want a relationship with his biological father, nor does he owe him any information. But it would be a kindness to give the man some peace of mind after all these years. Whatever decision your son makes, please abide by it.

Dear Annie: I'm in a similar situation to "Not Jealous, Just Hurt," whose husband's ex-wife turned up at all the family funerals.

I've been married for 25 years and my husband's mother and daughter think it's perfectly OK for his ex-wife to be included in family gatherings. His mother visits with his ex-wife now and then, and the woman is also welcome in her home. None of them, including my husband, seems to care how I feel about the situation. I don't feel welcome. I'm ready to call it quits. — Hurt as Well

Dear Hurt: Your husband has a daughter with his ex-wife. That means his daughter will want her mother at all family gatherings. It means your mother-in-law will invite the ex because her granddaughter wants her there. It means your husband will tolerate this for his daughter's sake. You don't have to like this situation, but after 25 years, we are surprised you haven't found a way to deal with it. Unless your husband is actively interested in his ex, this situation should not be so threatening. Please talk to an unbiased third party and figure out what you can live with.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at

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