Dear Ann Landers, I read the letter from "Slow Boil in California," who resented the amount of time her husband gave his ex-wife. He apparently helped his ex-wife with her taxes, visited his ex-mother-in-law when she was dying and spent 20 minutes at a time talking to his ex on the phone, discussing the kids' grades and upcoming events.
I say, if "Slow Boil" wanted a man with no baggage, she should have chosen one. When two people have children together, that makes them a family whether they are together or not. That husband should help his ex-wife no matter how he feels about her, simply because she is the mother of his children. His new wife should not feel threatened by this. It can actually be beneficial to her as well as to his children if there is no hostility.
After a divorce, a lot of healing can take place when the ex-partners are civil and kind to one another. If there is no civility, bad feelings turn into bad words that turn into bad behavior. The children then learn by example to perpetuate hate and anger.
As a child of divorce, it has given my siblings and me great comfort to know my father still cares enough about my mother to help her out when she needs it and that we can still enjoy family events together. It has also made us appreciate our stepmother for being so generous and loving. "Slow Boil" should be thankful she found a man with a bigger heart than most. -- Grateful in Plano, Texas
Dear Grateful, You've written a letter that is compassionate and sensible. Because you wrote, a great many divorced readers may take a closer look at their feelings about their ex-husband or ex-wife and be less rigid and a lot more conciliatory.