Q My ex is a liar and a cheater, and about a year after I finally left him, he decided he has seen the error of his ways and wants me to come back. He has been seeing a woman for about six months who has no idea that every time we talk (we have two kids), he tells me how sorry he is and would never do it again. Truth is, I was his second wife. He cheated on his first wife and me, and both relationships ended as a result. Is it good ex-etiquette to warn this woman he has been seeing that he's after me and that he'll cheat on her, too?
A I am often asked this question, and my answer is no. It's not your job to clear the way for this new woman; it's your ex's job. This is their time together, and as ridiculous as it sounds, he may not cheat on her. Granted, a leopard rarely changes his spots, but after failing twice miserably, he may realize he can't cheat if he wants a relationship to last. If he doesn't, it certainly isn't your responsibility to be your ex's relationship sheriff.
Ask yourself why you are even entertaining a heart-to-heart with the new girlfriend. The implication is that you would be doing it to save her the pain of falling for a cheater, but is that really it? Could there be a hint of revenge in your motivation?
If you tell her, she could think you are just jealous and lying and dig her heels in deeper. This would start a little vendetta between you and her, and it would alienate your ex, the father of your children. You need to build
So, follow these rules of good ex-etiquette: Rule No. 5, "Don't be spiteful"; Rule No. 6, "Don't hold grudges"; and Rule No. 9, "Respect each other's turf."
The best thing you can do is begin to see him as your children's father, not your ex who did you wrong, and move on.
You opened your question with, "My ex is a liar and a cheater." You already know what you are up against. It's best to keep him at a comfortable distance, always in the best interest of the children.
Dr. Jann Blackstone is the author of "Ex-etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After Divorce or Separation," and the founder of Bonus Families, bonusfamilies.com. Reach her at email@example.com.