Dear Annie: I recently found out that my ex-husband and his girlfriend run a porn Web site and an online sex store.
Our daughters are 16 and 18. The older one is away at college and the younger one is a daddy’s girl. I have custody of the children, and he sees them every other weekend and one night during the week. What they do in the privacy of their home (or anywhere else) is their business, but I’m afraid of what the girls are exposed to. My youngest is often left alone in the house, and she’s very computer-savvy.
I’m sure if I took my ex to court and brought this information to the judge, he wouldn’t be allowed visitation, which my younger daughter would resent. Besides, she will be driving on her own shortly and will have access to his house whenever she wants. I have been tempted to expose them to his parents, with whom I have kept in touch. Not to mention, the company they both work for would probably fire them if they got wind of this.
If I confront my ex, he will tell me it is none of my business. I don’t know what my children know at this point because I have not spoken to them about it.
His girlfriend receives money from this site, and I doubt she claims it on her income taxes. Should I remain quiet? — Daddy’s a Porn Star
Dear Ex-Wife: First, talk to your ex-husband — not in a confrontational way, but as a concerned parent. Tell him you know about the Web site and online store and you want to work with him to be sure his daughters are protected from that world. Don’t threaten him, but if he brushes off your concerns, you should absolutely report it to the judge. Since your youngest child is already 16, it is unlikely that visitation would be cut off, but if supervision becomes necessary and your daughter wants to know why, she’s old enough to be told the truth.
Dear Annie: My girlfriend and I had a huge disagreement. She is planning to give a baby shower for her friend at work. This is her friend’s second child and second shower. I did some research and believe the friend should not have a second shower. I did not think it was customary and felt it put the girl’s friends on the spot if they chose not to attend. I also thought it would reflect poorly on my girlfriend if she was going against tradition, although I realize times are changing. Should I have just minded my own business? — Custom Confused
Dear Custom: Yes. While showers for second children are not traditional (since, presumably, the parents already have most necessary items from the first child), they are becoming more common. Traditions change and that’s fine. Unless it is your time and money being spent, you are only asking for trouble by getting involved in what your girlfriend chooses to do for her friends.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” who had a sculpture she wanted to give to her daughter. The sculpture, however, was made by a friend whose wife, “Betsy,” also wanted it.
I have a solution that worked in our family. She should give the sculpture to Betsy with the caveat that Betsy will leave the sculpture to the daughter in her will.
When my grandmother died, she bequeathed a chest to me, but my aunt really wanted it. While it would certainly be a nice item to have in remembrance, it really means a lot to my aunt. Eventually it will be in my possession and I will cherish it even more as it will remind me of both of them. — No Name, California
Dear No Name: That’s a lovely solution — provided Betsy doesn’t move to another state and disappear, or her children don’t grab it when she dies, resulting in a protracted legal battle in order to get it back.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 12.24.07