D ear Amy: My ex and have been separated for six years. After that we were on and off as a couple, but a year ago I told him I was seeing someone and I didn’t want to continue this on and off nonsense and that I wanted to be friends.
He did not take this well. He called me a lot of nasty names and contacted the man I’m involved with.
My ex has made my life miserable. He follows me around, contacts my friends and bad mouths me. He insults me on Facebook.
The other day I found out he’s been following me and he now knows where I work. I contacted the police but they told me they can’t do anything because he did not approach or threaten me.
I then contacted his boss and informed him what one of his employees has been doing. He listened to me and sounded concerned.
But now I’m not sure if I did the right thing. I told his boss I didn’t want any problems. I just wanted to be left alone. I also said that I didn’t think his employee should be using the company vehicle to stalk me.
The boss told me he will do some thinking and will get back to me.
But I’m now wondering if this will cause things to escalate. I’m scared.
Was I wrong to contact his boss?
Dear Worried: When you are genuinely fearful, you are justified in doing whatever it takes to try to protect yourself. I don’t know if your choice will cause your ex’s behavior to escalate, but if you have already asked him to leave you alone, then he should become aware that he is putting a lot on the line when he chooses to harass you. I hope his boss handles this sensitively. Call the boss again if you are worried about your ex’s response.
The National Center for Victims of Crime (victimsofcrime.org) publishes a state-by-state guide to stalking laws; please double check the laws in your state to see if your ex has violated them. In some states, a person doesn’t need to be threatened with violence to get an order of protection.
Obviously, you should block him on all social media, change your own number if necessary, and ask your friends and family not to engage with him or respond to him if he contacts them.
Dear Amy: I have been divorced and have married again. My three children have my first husband’s last name. Although it has been over 40 years since I was married to my first husband and I have never had much to do with him all these years, he is still the father of my children.
I am contemplating the name that should be on my tombstone. I would like to include my first name, my maiden name, my first husband’s last name, and my present husband’s last name. Is it appropriate to use the names of both husbands?
— Rest Easy
Dear Rest Easy: Using both of your married names on a tombstone is acceptable and is fairly common – if this is what you want to do. Make sure you make your wishes known to all of your children (and stepchildren, if you have any) and also to the cemetery director where you will be buried.
Dear Amy: I liked your advice to “Heartbroken Dad,” whose 19-year-old son hadn’t been in touch with him (or responded to the dad’s contact) in two years.
I can imagine not only the father’s sadness, but the son’s sadness, too. His father was an every-other-Saturday-Dad and even if this wasn’t the father’s fault – it takes a toll on the relationship.
I have been on both sides of this equation – as a son and as a father. I thought your advice for the father to take his older son and travel to the younger son’s college to bring him home for the summer was practical and perfect. There’s nothing like a “road trip” to bring people together.
— Son and Single Dad
Dear Dad: Car trips can ease communication and create memories. I only hope they are good ones.