Fighting Over Friendships: Is it Acceptable for Your Friends to Stay Friendly With Your ex?

Q: I recently divorced. My best friend of 28 years and her husband just went on a vacation with my ex and his new girlfriend on the cabin cruiser we used to own together. We were all friends as couples and she felt I should be an adult about this situation. Her husband and my ex did become closer friends through our divorce. I am having a tough time handling this and it looks like I am going to loose this friendship because of it. Am I being unreasonable? Please give me advice.’

A: No, you aren’t being unreasonable, but one of the losses of a divorce often is friends. It may be that your best friend’s husband really does like your ex and enjoys spending time with him. The person in the middle is really your best friend, for she is now torn between loyalty to you and her husband’s friendship with your ex.  Hopefully, you and your friend can find ways to spend time together that sustains your friendship, even if she will also be spending time with your ex.

Desperate Dog Sitter: How to Tell Family you Can’t Watch Their Animals

Q: My brother in law and his wife do not have any children, but they have three large dogs. They like to travel a lot, and they expect my husband and I to feed their dogs when they are away. My husband has no problem with doing this, but, my husband travels a lot and I have been made to take over. They are planning another trip soon and my husband is going with them, leaving me as the person to take care of their animals, again. My problem is this, I have many animals, horses, dogs etc., and I would not ask them to watch them and have always made arrangements for a farm sitter or I don’t travel. I told my husband I thought they should board the dogs or hire a pet sitter. These are large dogs and they like to jump. I feel that as much as they like to travel, they should not rely on us every time. I feel put out having to drive over every day when I have things to do as well. My husband says thats what family is for and I’m being mean. This is getting ugly! Am I wrong?

A: It all depends on the give and take of your relationship with your brother-in-law and his wife. If they do other things for you and this is a way you can help, it is great. If you are doing all the giving and it is a burden, then you have to speak up, not in the ugly place, but in a real place that you just can’t take on the responsibility because you have your own big things to deal with, so you are willing to help but can’t do it all. Maybe by starting with a shared responsibility – you and a pet sitter, for example, you can “wean” them into a place where part of their travels include pet care that doesn’t involve you, especially when it is you by yourself and your husband isn’t helping.

Mazel Tov: What is an Appropriate gift to bring to a Bar Mitzvah?

Q: What is an appropriate gift to give to a young man at his bar mitzvah? We are neighbors and have known him since he was little. Is money and a card appropriate?

A: Money and a card are an excellent Bar Mitzvah gift. Others could include a gift certificate to a store that carries items he could use for an interest or hobby, or one of those items if you know what he could use. But if you aren’t certain, money is always appreciated and often is given as a gift at a Bar Mitzvah.

No Phone Zone: Are Cell Phones Okay in the Library?

Q: In your book Emily Post’s Guide to Good Manners for Kids, you give quite a few suggestions as to where kids should turn off their cell phones. Why did you not mention libraries? Cell phones have become a problem for us (patrons and staff) too.

A: You are correct.  Children and adults alike should either turn off cell phones or put them on vibrate.  If they must take a call, they should go outside to take the call. In such a short book it would be impossible to list every situation that would require a child to turn off a cell phone, but we will make note of your suggestion for future revisions.