DEAR AMY: I have been dating a divorced gentleman for almost two years. He has dated in the past, but as soon as he is comfortable in a relationship, his ex-wife shows up and destroys everything. She suffers from chronic mental illness and ran his last girlfriend off. Her stalking and harassing of whomever he chooses to love eventually ends in police reports and restraining orders. Well, looks like he and I have reached that point. Unless a traffic accident was involved, I have never dealt with the police in my entire life. Her interference is constantly hurting our comfort level. It’s exhausting, and we have considered breaking up, just so that she will leave me alone. Even if we did make the decision to break up, I told him that she will never allow him to be happy with anyone. Her violent tendencies are not something that I care to deal with on an ongoing basis. I feel like I’m in a horror film. We love each other, but this is wearing me out.
Carrying His Baggage
DEAR CARRYING: I’m so sorry this is happening to both of you.
You and your guy should review all of his efforts to legally contain and restrain his ex. This should include notifying friends and family members of the situation and asking them not to communicate on your behalf or ever share your contact information with anyone; disconnecting from his ex on all social media platforms, changing phone numbers, etc.
Never post specific advance information regarding your whereabouts on social media.
You should not respond to any contact from her, but keep an organized record of it. Work with the police and lawyers and always follow through (legally) concerning any infraction on her part.
I can’t advise you on whether you should hang in there, or abandon this very stressful situation. I can only urge you to take all steps to protect yourself.
Only you can judge whether the situation calms down or stabilizes.
If your personal friends and family members express worry or fears about you — believe them. Also, always trust your own gut instincts; if you feel afraid, don’t suppress this fear, but listen to it and take it seriously.
This is a very serious safety and quality of life issue for both of you, but ultimately you will need to make whatever choice is best for you, personally.
Understand that even if you break up, you might still be at risk. Be aware of this possibility, and continue to take steps to protect yourself.
DEAR AMY: A year ago, my fiance had suspicions of me cheating, so he went through my phone and found texting between myself and a married man (I had a past with this man over a decade ago). I haven’t seen this guy in 10 years! He and I never met up. We never had any physical contact. It was all a game. I was lacking attention, and sought it elsewhere. My problem is this: My fiance will not let this go. Yes, what I did was wrong. I fessed up once I was caught, but he still won’t let it go. I become very defensive over any and everything, nowadays. I can’t take it anymore. I feel like I’m going insane! If I am called names such as “whore” again, I’m gonna knock his head off. Any advice?
Sick of it Fiancee
DEAR SICK OF IT: Your guy’s lack of trust and verbal abuse, and your threat (or fantasy) of violence, means that you should definitely not get married. You probably shouldn’t even be in the same room together.
Your own choice to reflexively seek out attention from other men when you aren’t getting the attention you want from your partner means that you are not mature enough to live your own best life, not to mention share your life with a spouse.
You don’t seem to realize how serious this situation might become, or recognize how toxic and damaging it is to stay in a relationship where two people are sniping, jealous, defensive, verbally abusive and threatening each other. Your ongoing behavior indicates that you don’t really want to be in this relationship.
DEAR READERS: Sometimes people who dispense advice run out of answers. If you’ve ever been curious about the life behind my advice, read my new book, “Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Coming Home” (2017, Hachette).