Short Answers

By Jeff Johnson and Paula Forman


Dear Short Answers:
I recently met a woman who I think I would like to marry. She has 3 kids from a previous marriage and shares joint custody with her former husband. The problem is that her ex seems like a really great guy. He’s a wonderful dad, he’s smart, he’s fun to be around. I can’t figure out why they got divorced. I worry that there is something wrong with her that I haven’t yet figured out. Or maybe she got tired of him and will get tired of me. It’s driving me crazy. How do I figure this all out before it’s too late?
Auditioning for #2

Dear #2:
There is nothing wrong with asking her the same question you asked us — and nothing wrong with sharing your worry with her either. But don’t be too surprised if the situation she describes bears no resemblance to the nice guy you have met. Our culture almost demands that ex’s demonize one another to justify divorce. Take the time to know this woman — it is your only path to truth


Dear Short Answers:
My 5-year old son, Luke, for some unknown reason, has become convinced that he is adopted. My wife and I have assured him that he is not but he refuses to change his mind. To make matters worse, he tells everyone he sees that he is adopted. I have gotten into the strangest conversations with people when I try to explain that he isn’t adopted and they tell me that I should be honest with Luke and that he is old enough to know the truth!!! Should I just shut up and let people think what they want? Is this a phase and will Luke grow out of it?
Luke’s Dad

Dear Dad:
The more you make of this, the more Luke will push the button. Try to relax on it. No one matters but you and your wife and Luke. We get that it is upsetting, but not so unusual. Try not to react and see what happens. We suspect as soon as you make it a non- issue, he will drop it.


Dear Short Answers:
My parents have always wanted grandchildren and have been pressuring me and my husband to have kids ever since we got married (which was 8 years ago). Frankly, I’d be happy to have kids but I don’t think we can afford it. Would it be wrong to tell my parents that we’ll have kids if they foot the bill – they certainly have enough money to do it. And if they say no, maybe that will shut them up.
Not Ready

Dear Not:
Tell your parents that you will have a baby when you feel ready to do so. The very idea of parentally-financed procreation makes us wonder what else you’d be willing to do for money. And we are also wondering if money really is the issue that’s stopping you.


Dear Short Answers:
The engagement is over. Am I obligated to return the ring?

Dear DK:
We think if it is a family ring, then it definitely must be returned. If it was a ring purchased for you, then perhaps you could keep it. But why would you want to?

 Life is complicated. Short Answers isn’t.

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