Boyfriend should keep items from exes

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Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: I need advice on setting boundaries during the "exploratory" phase of a relationship. We are both in our 60s and have been seeing each other exclusively for six months. We live three hours apart and our visits are usually two to four days in duration. That intensity of being together brings a host of problems, especially this one: When is the proper time for discussing disposing of property (cars, jewelry and other belongings) that were part of a previous marriage? She thinks I should dispose of my three vehicles (none especially valuable but very functional). My three children are very attached to my 1984 pickup that has been the source of many fantastic family memories. Most controversial is a beautiful set of gold cuff links and studs given to me by my second wife 20 years ago. I wore them to a formal event with her, and she had a complete meltdown when she learned their origin and went home early the next day. This has been a huge issue. I haven't asked her to get rid of her things (including a beautiful ruby engagement ring), nor am I likely to. I think it is really inappropriate at this point in our relationship. I feel my boundaries are getting trampled, and so does my counselor.

-- Bewildered in Va.

DEAR BEWILDERED: The guidelines about disposing of property from your own life when you are in your 60s and in a new "exploratory" relationship are as follows: There are none. Because it's stupid.

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Your female friend seriously wants you to get rid of your automobiles? Is her rationale that your 1984 pickup once transported one of your previous wives to the garden center? I grant that jewelry and other intimate gifts from previous spouses can be emotionally loaded, but after the truck thing, I'm not inclined to give this woman the benefit of the doubt.

You should clear your house of fun photos showing you romping with previous partners. Otherwise, for now, she's going to have to deal. With your life. As is.

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