It's been over four years since my fiancé and his ex-wife divorced (and she initiated it), and she still can't move on. She makes up lies about our mistreating the kids. She calls me "the b - -h" in front of other parents. I don't deserve to be treated like this! We've asked his ex to get counseling, but she says she doesn't need it. What do we do? - S.A., 30, Virginia Beach, VA
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No, you don't deserve to be treated like this, but no one ever died from being called a b---- . The ex-wife is behaving badly because, as you said, she hasn't moved on. And, unfortunately, you can't make her, just as you couldn't make her get counseling.
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Have a powwow with your fiancé about the best way to keep all dealings with his ex official and evenhanded, leaving as little room for hostility and lunacy as possible. Keeping all communication to email would probably be the best bet. Treat your messages to her as you would a business matter (which it is: the business of scheduling). Make the emails courteous and to the point, and give her plenty of time to respond. No matter how she behaves, whether she calls you 18 times at midnight or texts you like an enraged 14-year-old who's just discovered espresso, respond calmly via email. (You should also archive these emails in case her actions ever make it necessary to involve the authorities.)
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You can always count on one thing: Time passes. Next year you'll all be in a different (hopefully better) place, and his ex will have less energy and interest in stirring things up. Right now, she's angry and hurt. Fortunately, most people can't sustain that forever.
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Karen Karbo is an award-winning writer and author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman. She's also a mom, a writing teacher, and a horse owner. Check out more advice from Karen.
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