Dear Annie: I resent that my husband’s ex-wife is still in the picture. I tolerated her presence when his children were young, but now that they are grown, I don’t see why she is still in our lives. She will show up on my husband’s birthday and bring a gift. When his relatives visit from out of town, she comes to our house to see them. She drives to the airport to see him off when he takes a business trip. I know the kids are telling her his schedule, but I suspect my husband also gives her information, although he denies it.
Am I wrong to be tired of this? We’ve been married for 20 years. I have asked my husband to speak to his ex about boundaries, but he refuses. He says it would hurt his children’s feelings for their mother not to be welcome. He doesn’t think it should bother me after all these years, but I consider her an uninvited guest. What’s your take? – Crowded by the Ex
Dear Crowded: After 20 years, the ex-wife thinks she’s still part of the family, and apparently, so does everyone else except you. Frankly, we’re surprised after all this time that you haven’t found a way to be friends with the woman, which would be the best way to handle it.
She is the mother of your stepchildren and will always be part of your life, so cutting her off completely will only create resentment. Instead, ask your husband sweetly to limit how often she intrudes. Dropping off a birthday gift and seeing his relatives at your home are not unreasonable, but the airport run is over the top.
Annie’s Snippet for Labor Day (credit Martin Luther King Jr.): All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.