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Living With Divorce

How to Shut the Door on an Unwelcome Ex-Husband

January 14, 1985|VIRGINIA DOODY KLEIN

Question: I have been divorced since May of 1984 after 24 years and 11 months of marriage. For years my husband went out all night, verbally and sometimes physically abused me and the children, changed jobs 15 or 20 times and had several romances. Finally I couldn't take it anymore. We divorced and sold the family home and I moved with two of our three teen-age children. He comes over almost daily to watch TV, drink beer and leave trash in the kitchen. He says he comes to see our 15-year-old son, but he is supposed to see him only once a month on weekends. I have told him he is not welcome, but he comes anyway, telling me or the children what to do. It won't work to get a restraining order because he has no regard for legalities and has ways of bending all rules.

Answer: It doesn't sound as though you're divorced at all. You absolutely do not have to put up with this invasion of your privacy. If you get a restraining order against your former husband, all you have to do is call the police the first time he appears uninvited at your home and he will be arrested. Whether or not he has regard for the law is unimportant. He will be arrested and there will be no bending the rules unless you let him off the hook. It's your decision--you can live with or without him.

Q: I just found out that I am going to have a baby next summer. My husband and I are overjoyed. This is a second marriage for both of us. I have two small sons; my husband has no children from his previous marriage. I want the boys to feel close to this new baby. How should I tell them about my pregnancy and, secondly, how do I explain why their new brother or sister will not be going with them to visit their dad, without making the baby seem like an outsider?

A: The best preparation for a new brother or sister is to include your sons in all the preparations. Let them feel the baby kick and talk about what's happening at different stages of your pregnancy. When the time comes to set up the crib and launder the layette, ask them to help you get ready. Explain that you'll be away for a few days but that you'll call and let them know if the baby is a boy or a girl. Children accept each other as they are. As long as you treat their going to their dad's without the new arrival as normal and explain that the baby will stay home with you and his or her dad, the pattern will seem a natural one.

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