My husband and I have been married eleven years and sadly, had no children, though we both wanted them. We are different religions and from totally different worlds. He is from the Bronx and I am from Alabama. His family made no secret that they never liked me and always encouraged him to visit alone, though I tried hard to fit in His cousin came to visit last year and our marriage fell apart after she introduced him to a friend and encouraged him to leave me. His mother was not involved in that, but co-incidentally, I found out she had been giving him large cash gifts every year which he concealed from me. She has met his new sweety (who is now pregnant) and is all for the new marriage. This is the killer. She gave Jake (us?) many valuable family items over the years, such as jewelry, art, china, silver, and crystal. She wants all these things back since she wants them to stay in the family. I originally planned to give them back, but the more I think about it, the less I am inclined to. She has agreed to give me a considerable cash settlement so Jake can get rid of me quickly and marry his new woman, but I am having second thoughts about returning gifts. I hate to admit it, but I still love Jake and don’t want a divorce. What should I do? Am I obligated to return family gifts? Ditched Wife.
Dear Ditched, This is a betrayal, and I could see why you might not want to return gifts after being treated so badly. Jake and his whole family sound like a piece of work. As to whether you should return gifts, that would be your judgment, unless you had an agreement ahead of the marriage. Personally, I don’t think I’d want reminders around, but that’s just me. If the settlement being offered is larger, it might be to your benefit to accept it, unless you prefer the gifts. It’s probably a bribe to return family items. You probably won’t get both. Auntie Linda
Dear Auntie Linda, I am eighteen and an only child. Mom died last year. About six months ago Dad brought Greg (three months younger than I) over to meet me. It turns out, my father had an affair just before he and Mom married. Dad found out Julie was pregnant right after he and Mom married, but didn’t want to break up their marriage. He supported and visited Greg all this time, though he says he was faithful to Mom. I love Greg and I am angry I missed eighteen years we could have had, but now Dad and Julie are talking about getting married. I think this is horrible. I wonder if that is the first thing he thought of once Mom died, a second chance for a perfect family. I am just furious at him for hiding this all these years and just introducing Greg when it was convenient. Outraged
Dear Outraged, I don’t blame you for being angry. It was wrong to hide this all these years. It is good that you and Greg are close now, especially considering the time you missed out on already. Your father behaved very poorly, by not acknowledging his son and deceiving you and your mother. It would be best to focus on your relationship with your brother, than your anger with your father. The fact is, your father will do as he pleases. Your response is the only thing you have control over. I encourage you to act with a cool head and more grace than your father has shown in this situation.