DEAR AMY: My daughter is getting married in a month and I am AFRAID of seeing my ex-husband. We were married for 32 years. He was abusive on several levels: sexual, financial, verbal and physical. He is capable of violence, and is a gun owner. Prior to the finalization of the divorce, he loosened the gas line to the oven. Luckily, after several weeks of smelling gas, I called the gas company. They verified that the line was loosened. My daughter had to email him the wedding information because he would not give his home address. He would not give a commitment to attend. During the years we were together, he found a way to ruin every birthday party, graduation and holiday, whether through violence, staging a pretend suicide attempt or leaving us wondering if he was going to show up — and in what state. My mind races. Will he do something to my home while we are out of town for the wedding? Will he show up and present a negative aura? I need words of wisdom. I am truly anxious over his potential presence. As a Christian, I am praying over the situation, but it still does not seem to be enough to ease my anxiety. God has protected me and my children through so many years and situations. I have no reason to think that this will not be any different. As an outsider looking in, please give me some advice.
Joyful and Afraid
DEAR JOYFUL AND AFRAID: This man has a history of violence toward you. He refused to provide his mailing address for an invitation. Why is he being included in this family celebration?
It is reasonable to decline to invite anyone who poses a physical threat to you or others, regardless of his biological relationship to the bride.
Aside from your faith and prayer practice, you still have a responsibility to take care of yourself. You should consider installing a low-cost camera trained on your home while you’re away. Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your house. Don’t advertise your movements or travel plans on social media.
Given what you say, your daughter should rescind this invitation. If she doesn’t want to do so, or if you fear he will show up anyway, you and she should consider hiring a security person to be present at the wedding and reception, in order to keep an eye on him and any other potentially unruly or drunken guests.
DEAR AMY: My birthday is coming up, and I’m dreading it this year. My boyfriend’s brother’s name is “Jake.” I got really close with his girlfriend, “Trixie.” I considered her one of my closest friends. Trixie and Jake broke up. They both have moved on, but now Trixie is demanding that I tell Jake not to bring his new girlfriend with him when we all go out to celebrate my birthday. Jake has said that everyone should just be civil, but Trixie seems hell-bent on making this difficult. Trixie recently told me that I need to choose between her and Jake’s new girlfriend. I told her that wasn’t a choice I was willing to make. What should I do?
DEAR UPSET: Just once, it would be satisfying to answer an ultimatum like this:
Trixie: “You need to choose between Jake’s new girlfriend and me.”
You: “I choose her.”
Maybe you could give yourself a birthday gift, and stand up to someone who is trying to manipulate you (and everyone else in this friendship group).
DEAR AMY: Thank you for your reasoned response to “What’s in a Name,” written by a grandmother who didn’t like her daughter’s choice of names for her grandchild. I was “saddled” with a first and middle name that are unique, hard to pronounce and harder yet to explain, but it makes me who I am today and today I love my full name. If my maternal grandparents had taken it upon themselves to be hurt by the fact that their side had nothing to do with the naming convention, I would have never had the wonderful relationship I had with them until they died.
DEAR NAMED: As I noted in my response, I have a male middle name (so does my sister), and not only are these names sort-of cool, but — most importantly — this is what our parents chose.
This grandmother really needs to get over her own ego in order to forge a good relationship.