Updated: November 30, 2012 6:21AM
Dear Cheryl: It’s been a month since my divorce, a divorce caused by my ex-husband’s cheating.
I barely talk to him, which is generally good. When we do talk, it’s usually about our daughter. But we have said many nasty things to each other in the past. He keeps telling me how happy he is with his girlfriend, the happiest he’s ever been, and that he knows I’m miserable. He is so wrong.
He also says that we have no respect for each other and that there’s no trust between us.
Here’s my question: Under these circumstances, are respect and trust possible?
It’s Not Over Till It’s Over and This Ain’t Over
Dear INOTIOATAO: A divorce decree is just a piece of paper. It ends a marriage, but not all the bitter, angry feelings that led up to it. Some people have an overwhelming need to prove that they’ve made out better in the divorce.
Is there anyone that you and your ex trust and respect? Preferably someone from his side of the family? If so, ask that person to set up a meeting between the three of you. Tell him you’re afraid that the nastiness between the two of you will affect your daughter.
You’re two people with one goal — a happy, healthy child with as few divorce-caused scars as possible.
At the meeting, suggest some ground rules for future conversations. 1. The focus will be 100 percent on your daughter. 2. No personal information will be shared unless it absolutely affects her. 3. The past is off limits.
If there’s no one who your ex agrees to meet with, then tell him you’ll pay for a session with a therapist. Trust and respect may never be possible, but a non-poisonous relationship should be.
Dear Cheryl: My husband was married for 13 years and had two daughters. His wife cheated on him with his best friend and then left him. I was married for 15 years and had two children. My husband and I met and then dated two years before we married.
We tried to be cordial with his ex-wife when we got together, and I easily bonded with his kids. After she saw the bond I was forming with them, she pulled out all stops to make sure they hated me.
Now, after 10 years of marriage, my husband has no relationship with his adult kids, all because of a jealous ex-wife. My ex-husband and I are cordial, but we got divorced for a reason.
Why continue the charade if you’ve divorced? Cut the ties and move on.
Done Is Done
Dear Done Is Done: If your husband has accepted not having a relationship with his children, so be it.
But miracles can happen, and I always believe it’s worth one last try. His children have had a lifetime to see how manipulative their mother is and maybe they’re willing to open their minds and hearts to their father’s point of view.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.