Dear Annie: I divorced 18 months ago after being separated for three years.
During this entire time, my ex-husband has had a nasty girlfriend who is always in the middle of every situation. I don’t care for this woman at all.
My ex and I have a five-year-old son. The girlfriend has used him as a messenger, telling him things she wanted him to repeat to me.
I confronted my ex about it, but instead of things improving, they have gotten worse.
This woman broadcasts to everyone who will listen that I am a bad mom and a terrible person.
She recently posted on Facebook that I was having affairs while married and also had an abortion. These are baldfaced lies.
My son just started school, and I worry other parents may hear about these accusations.
The only way to get rid of this woman is to keep my child away from his father, and I truly do not want to do that. He is a great dad. I just need his girlfriend to back off.
What should I do? — The Ex-Wife
Dear Ex: If your ex-husband is truly a great dad, he would not want his son to be misled or confused by this woman, nor would he allow his son’s mother to be publicly trampled and lied about.
He has an obligation to make his girlfriend stop badmouthing you before her attempts at defamation risk losing him his visitation rights.
Perhaps if he understands the consequences, he will put an end to it. If necessary, discuss it with your lawyer.
Dear Annie: My husband’s self-esteem is so low these days that he blames himself for everything.
Last week, I was having hot flashes that kept me awake so I slept on the couch.
My husband automatically assumed it was his snoring and said, “If I snore, wake me up and I’ll sleep downstairs.” Tonight at dinner, the chicken didn’t taste quite as good as usual, and he said, “I must have overcooked it on the grill.” It’s always his fault.
When he has a good idea, he phrases it as “we thought,” even though I had nothing to do with it.
He has so little self-confidence it’s as if he is afraid to take ownership of his opinions.
When he has free time, he mopes around or watches TV and allows me to do all the planning. He expresses no interest in anything, and it’s driving me crazy. Please help. — Lonely for My Old Partner
Dear Lonely: One reason a man can develop a lack of motivation is a drop in testosterone.
Another is depression.
Please insist your husband get a complete checkup and specifically ask the doctor to check his testosterone levels.
If everything is OK, ask him to see a therapist to find out why he has lost interest in everything.
Dear Annie: Your response to “Contemplating Divorce in the Midwest” was right on.
She’s been married 38 years to an emotionally abusive man who cheats on her.
I worked my butt off for 23 years trying to please my ex-husband. I worked two jobs and raised our kids. As the years passed, the verbal abuse and humiliation kept getting worse until finally I’d had enough.
A few weeks after I left, I ran into a neighbour.
He told me he heard my ex yelling at our 16-year-old son that he hoped when he married, his wife would leave him, too.
My son calmly replied, “I would never treat my wife the way you treated Mom.”
Leaving was hard, but it was one of the best things I could have done for my kids and myself. — Happy Ending
Dear Happy: Your son sounds like a smart, compassionate young man in spite of his father.
You did a good job.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.