ASK AMY: The new girl is afraid the guy is a jerk

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Dear Amy: I started seeing “James” three months ago. I am 35 and he is 40. We both have successful careers, great communication and a thirst for adventure. It’s been a great start, but I’m struggling with some baggage.

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James has a four year old daughter whom I adore.

James and his ex “Constance” were together for six years – never married. Constance has always been a housewife, raising three older children whom James considers stepchildren.

Constance left James. He was shocked and confessed to me that she must have been unhappy if she had left the financial security he had provided. The thing is, she still has it!

For the past year, Constance and their daughter have been living in the house he bought for the family, with no strings attached or rent.

Their agreement is that she can stay indefinitely. If she decides to move, he will sell the house and she will get half. He also pays her monthly child support ($500 more than required by law).

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When I said how generous he was, James explained that he wanted his daughter to live comfortably, and Constance took good care of the property.

While I admire his heart and support, I can’t help but think that James is too generous. He and Constance don’t talk. Constance cuts ties between him and her other children.

Her eldest child in the process called her a “gold hunter”.

Am I wrong to agree that Constance may be taking advantage of James’ generosity?

Is this division of property typical for unmarried couples?

I acknowledge his responsibility to his daughter, but I fear he has been manipulated into financially supporting Constance in the long run. She has always lived on alimony. It makes me nervous about a potential future together.

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Should I speak or not interfere?

– I bite my tongue

Dear Biting: You’ve been dating “James” for three months now. Understand that he has the right to spend his money as he wants, including this generosity towards the former, who is not very attractive to him.

If he can afford to house his ex and her kids indefinitely, and if that makes him feel like he’s doing the right thing, then I’d say well done!

My only concern is that he doesn’t seem to have a legal agreement with his ex outlining this arrangement. If so, then she is more vulnerable than him because he can revoke this agreement at any time, especially if he is associated with someone (like you) who seems to think he is a goof and influences on him.

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My advice to you is to enjoy your relationship with him and don’t judge his choices until he has a direct impact on you.

If the two of you get serious and get into financial trouble, and of course if you move into cohabitation or marriage, that will be up to you.

Dear Amy: I am a widowed woman (62 years old) and met a man (36 years old) with two small children.

We have been in a relationship for three years, and so far I have not yet met his siblings or my mother, I cannot go to his house, and we have had intimate relationships only a few times.

Our “relationships” consist of phone calls and text messages.

I invited him and the kids to parties and birthdays, but he always had other plans.

I am never invited to any family gatherings.

He says he cares a lot about me and I care about him, but that doesn’t work for me. What do you think?

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– Interesting

Dear Surprise: I think it doesn’t work for him either.

I hope you meet a new special person who wants to open his life to you. This man… isn’t it.

Dear Amy: A divorced dad (Lost Friends) texted you about their “couple” of friends siding with his ex-wife, causing him to miss their friendship.

I was on the other side of it. I was the wife who stayed to “pick up” all the friends. I didn’t ask people to choose, they just did.

I found that when the dust settled and I invited my ex to events, as he did to me, our friends showed up too, knowing that we could all be at events together without drama.

No one should have chosen a side if we didn’t.

It’s not always easy, but it’s better than being left out.

– The ex

Dear ex: Well said. Thank you!

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