Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I am stuck in a no-win situation. Two years ago I ended my marriage after five years with "John" when I met my (now) partner "Jane," who is a police officer. The past two years have been a roller coaster, as John and Jane do not like each other. John stayed an involved father, making sure our sons were taken care of and visiting them whenever he could. Meanwhile Jane was trying to prove that she could take John's place and provide all the same love, care and material possessions that John could, while also rubbing John's nose in it whenever possible. Six months ago, I was awarded sole custody of my two sons when I was injured in an accident and Jane filed a police report saying that John came to our home while drunk and beat me up (this didn't actually happen). Jane's relative represented me in family court and very quickly filed the motion through the court, barring any contact between my sons and their dad on the grounds of domestic violence and alcoholism. I feel very sorry and guilty for everything that Jane has put John through, but I am afraid that if I show any remorse for John, Jane will take that as a personal attack. How can I show Jane that she does not need to continue trying to prove to me that she can replace John?
DEAR STUCK: You are not stuck. If your account of events is accurate, you have made a series of choices to be in a relationship with someone who (according to you) has abused her position in law enforcement and -- along with your lawyer (and you) -- committed fraud. Your young sons are pawns in this illegal, unethical and very dangerous game.
Your efforts at this point should be pointed toward exiting safely from this relationship. Your ex-husband's parental rights should be restored and you should make things right.
"Jane" is dangerous and should not be trusted to serve in any capacity where she has the ability to use the justice system to punish people and further her own personal goals. She and her relative should take their own journey through the courts -- as defendants.
DEAR AMY: I have been divorced for a year. I had gotten back in touch with an ex-boyfriend from my early 20s. We have both just gotten out of long marriages. We get along great, talk for hours, laugh, cry together and share everything about our current lives. The main issue is that we live in different parts of the country. We have not hung out in person in over 20 years. As much as I think he likes me and I like him, he keeps reminding me in subtle ways that he doesn't want to be in any kind of relationship right now since his last marriage was so devastating to him. But he has continued to be flirty. All the signals I get are that we feel the same about each other. But whenever I confront the issue it always ends with me in tears and with him saying he isn't ready for more, but he "loves" what we have right now. I don't know if I should keep up the close friendship we have been having for the last year or leave it alone. Your advice?
DEAR CONFUSED: What you have right now -- flirty daily contact -- is exactly what your guy wants. He has been very clear about it. It is obviously not quite what you want.
This relationship is a soft rebound after a long marriage. It has served an important function for both of you, but you are ready for another kind of relationship now. I suggest you taper off the contact and move on, sooner rather than later.
DEAR AMY: Thank you for your compassion toward "Respectfully Disrespected," the transgender teen. I have one concern: I hope this teenager does not rush into surgery. This step should only be taken after lots of counseling and research into the impact of this irreversible choice.
DEAR CONCERNED: I agree. Thank you.