Dear Annie: Thirty-two years ago, my ex left me for another woman. He was verbally abusive and denigrated the children and me every chance he had. People did not realize what I went through during my marriage. I remarried 23 years ago, and the children are now grown adults. I have no contact with my ex at all unless it involves a major event for our kids, such as a graduation or wedding.
Here’s the problem: In the past three years, my sisters have begun asking my ex and his wife (that same Other Woman) to our family get-togethers. In turn, my ex has invited my siblings to their family gatherings, including holiday celebrations.
My husband and I cannot understand why my siblings would invite my ex and his wife to family events after all these years. Because of this, we have not attended any family gatherings, which hurts my 84-year-old mother. I have explained to her why we don’t show up when we suspect my ex will be present. We always make up for it by visiting her the day before or after.
Annie, I do not want to see my ex or his wife at family functions. They are not family. Two of my sisters have been divorced. I asked whether they would like it if I invited their ex-husbands to my family events. They assured me they will stop.
My mother’s birthday is coming up, and my husband and I have decided to go to the party at a restaurant. If my ex shows up, we will leave. Am I wrong not to want to see him anymore? Why do my siblings do this? – Hurt Feelings
Dear Hurt: It’s possible your siblings do this because they think your children would like it. Ask. But when they include your ex, they are saying they prefer his company to yours, which we agree is terribly hurtful, not only to you, but to your mother, and you should let them know. Regardless, they get to invite whomever they choose, and you get to decide whether or not to attend.