Ask Amy: Abusive man's girlfriend should be warned

December 2, 2013 

Dear Amy: My conscience is bothering me. Two years ago, I divorced my husband of five years. It was a second marriage for both of us. We loved each other, but our marriage was deeply troubled.

I frequently caught him lying. He had many inappropriate relationships with other women. His spending was out of control, putting me in serious financial jeopardy.

Worst of all, during a two-year period of our marriage and on five occasions, he was physically abusive. Not a slap or a shove, but full-out rage. I thought he would kill me.

Fast forward to today: He and I continue to be close. We see each other frequently and have a lively sexual relationship. I have always assumed that he is dating other women, as I have been dating other men.

Still, I was shocked to learn that he has been in a serious relationship with a lovely young woman.

He has told me they are talking about marriage and children. While she knows about our continued "friendship," she has no idea that he has been sexually intimate with me the entire time he was courting her. Further, she does not know that he owes thousands of dollars on credits cards. Clearly, he also has not told her about his history with domestic violence.

As a mother, I feel protective of her innocence and cluelessness about him. What obligation do I have to share any of this information with her? I don't know what to do.

— Conflicted

Dear Conflicted: I cannot imagine remaining in a relationship with someone you (at one time) feared would kill you. This is a dangerous choice.

Because of the overwhelming quantity and severity of your ex-husband's issues, yes, this woman should be told about him. Obviously, because this man is violent, you need to figure out a way to warn her while protecting yourself. Doing this anonymously might be best.

This presents an opportunity for you to take a fresh look at someone who presents risk to your emotional and physical well-being. Divorce was a great idea; now you should leave the rest of the relationship.

Dear Amy: "Turned Off" was annoyed at her niece, who was having a small, private wedding but had invited family to a larger (gift-receiving) reception. This aunt needs to be reminded that this wedding is not for or about her, but for and about the marrying couple. If she doesn't like this arrangement, she should stay away.

— Been there

Dear Been There: I agree.


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