Adapted from a recent online discussion.
DEAR CAROLYN: What am I supposed to do about an ex who regrets calling off our wedding? It was a few years ago, and I married someone else (two years after the split) and we have a family. My ex never married and is still single in his late 40s.
As with every communication I get from a regretful ex or an ex who wants to “just talk,” I chalk it up to loneliness and/or boredom, i.e., nothing to do with me personally. Ignore, ignore, ignore, ignore, right?
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DEAR ANONYMOUS: No chalking up necessary, with this or any ex, because what any of them feels is no longer relevant to you.
Maybe an ex or two really did miss out or really does think you’re awesome — but, you know what? Not relevant.
So, of course you can choose not to respond to an ex who pops up with an email or text or call out of the blue. If you’re forced to respond by circumstance — say, you run into each other at a party or something — then just say it’s in the past and you are not interested in revisiting it, then excuse yourself for a bathroom run/drink refresher/”Oh, there’s Mazie, excuse me — good to see you.”
Right? There isn’t more to this on your end, is there?
Obviously if all parties involved are open to friendship, then that’s a different answer — one that doesn’t start with a question about guys who see you as the one who got away.
DEAR CAROLYN: My husband and I want to have kids soon. The problem is that my job is grant-funded from year to year, so it’s unclear what my situation will be next year at this time. I am also looking for jobs. My husband is considering joining the military as an attorney. We wouldn’t have a definitive answer until about nine months from now. Then, if he’s accepted and he completes training, we’d likely have to move and I’d need to find another job.
Everyone keeps telling me there is never a perfect time to have a baby, so part of me thinks we should go for it and part of me thinks that would be financially irresponsible. Any thoughts?
DEAR RIGHT TIME?: There is never a perfect time to have a baby.
There are responsible and irresponsible ones, though, you’re right. So: Are you saving money? Do you have a cushion? Do you have a place to go if you bottom out? Have you developed wise spending habits? Can you adjust your circumstances and lifestyle to get by on one salary, just in case? With a baby?
And if work is a must: Are your skills portable from one area to the next or one career field to the next? If not, can you retrain now (at community college, say) for a more portable career? Can you become an independent contractor or work remotely?
The military is “real stability,” by the way — it’s just of a different kind from the one you’re accustomed to.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.