Dear Annie: My ex-husband was very controlling and always had to have the upper hand in conversations. Today, we do all of our communicating through email only, but he still needs to end all correspondence on his terms.
We have been divorced for three years now, but he still thinks he can control me because we have a joint parenting plan, which is an entirely different subject.
But I have a fiancé, and we are very happy together and planning our lives together. Both my girls, ages 10 and 8, love my fiancé and are more comfortable with him than with their real dad.
During the past two years, my ex-husband has gotten in touch with my fiancé’s ex-wife and is coaching her on ways to get my fiancé into legal trouble by calling the Department of Children and Family Services about him, making claims that are wrong. As of now, nothing has happened to him to get him into trouble with the law.
The reason we know that my ex is involved is because whenever my fiancé’s ex emails him, the wording of her emails is the same as the emails that my ex sends me. It also has been confirmed with both sets of children that they talk about us every night and are looking for ways to get my fiancé into legal trouble.
We have no proof to take this to our lawyer, but it is getting stressful. Going to a lawyer and filing a case without proof is the last thing we want to do, especially when time, money and our children’s well-being are at stake.
Can you help?
— Desperate for Solutions
Dear Desperate: The best solution is to seek the advice of professional legal counsel. A good attorney will advise you on how to proceed and only file a complaint if there are reasonable grounds.
Try as best you can not to get bogged down in petty little fights with your ex, and focus instead on living a good life. I agree that the guy sounds like a first-class louse, but always remember that the best revenge is living well.
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Dear Annie: I read your response to “Brokenhearted.” She was hurting because her sister didn’t believe her abuse. Depression is a process. My biggest hurdle in managing it was the belief that it was a flaw of mine. That there was something wrong with me.
I read The Body Keeps the Score. It was liberating. The book, in my perspective, was a work of correlating physical changes in the body as they related to mental changes.
What a life-changer. I realized that the evolution of my depression was not my fault. I did pretty darn good, considering what I went through. I no longer allowed people’s opinions to shape me. I arrived at a very empowered and healing place.
I can’t recommend the book enough. Good call.
— The Body Keeps Score
Dear Body: Congratulations on your dedication to living a full and empowered life. Taking control of your mental and physical health is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself and the world.
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— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her debut book, Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie, features favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette. Email your Dear Annie questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.