Dear Annie: About two years ago, my wife of 20 years, “Cynthia,” and I divorced. Our two children are grown and out of the house. Our divorce wasn’t the norm; we did it without a lawyer or mediator. Everything was civil; no one cheated or was abused. I think we both just changed over time.
About four months after the divorce, I met another woman, “Beth.” Having already had my cry, I decided to give it a shot. Long story short, we were great for each other, and now, a year and a half later, we’re engaged.
The problem is that Cynthia doesn’t really have a family other than mine. My sister and the rest of my family are sympathetic to Cynthia and want to include her. I don’t mind being around her, but the awkwardness comes in when Beth and Cynthia attend the same family events. Beth understands that it’s unavoidable during big occasions, such as weddings and funerals. But she feels that it isn’t normal for Cynthia to be around for our casual family gatherings, which are more frequent. She feels that once people divorce, they should start to move on with their lives and shouldn’t continue attending the ex’s family gatherings.
I’m very torn. I want Beth to attend these events. However, if I asked Cynthia to stop being around so much, it might get back to my family, and then Beth and I would be deemed as spoilers in the family. But she may already be seen as an outcast by excluding herself from these gatherings.
Is Beth having anxiety over nothing, or should I ask my ex not to be around so much? — Ex In or Ex Out
Dear Ex In or Ex Out: Your ex-wife was a part of your family for 20 years, and that bond doesn’t disappear once the ink dries on the divorce papers. It’s understandable that she wants to stay in touch with her former in-laws, and it’s understandable that they want to include her. But it’s important that your fiancee really…