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Don't try to deal with ex alone

Q: I'm a very happily married man with four children, two from a previous marriage and two from my current marriage. My ex-wife is being extremely difficult as of late. She keeps changing her plans around, making it so that I have to rearrange an entire week's schedule just to see my kids. Sometimes she even refuses to let me have them when it's my weekend. I feel like she is being malicious and doing this to hurt me in some way. She has always been difficult, but this is starting to get out of control. Is there anything I can do about this?

— G. O., North Tonawanda

A: Yes, you can take her to court. I'm not an expert in these kinds of things, but any level-headed person would see her behavior as inappropriate and unacceptable. Assuming you have a custody agreement already in place, if she's violating it, she will have to answer to a judge for it. I wouldn't advise trying to handle this on your own. Get in touch with your lawyer. Either way, this situation isn't good for your children, as I'm sure they're used to a routine by now. Don't wait too long to get this under control, or it will get worse.

In the meantime, limit your conversations with her. Try to keep your emotions in check and refrain from lashing out or saying anything she may be able to use against you in a courtroom. If you can keep the majority of your contact with her through email, that would be beneficial as well, since your communication will be on record.

Good luck, and fight for your kids. Children need their dad in their lives just as much as their mom.


Catching the rebound

Q: What is the big deal about rebound relationships? I've always found that the best way to get over someone is to get with someone new. My current girlfriend was with her ex-fiancé for several years and got together with me a couple of weeks after he left her. She was heartbroken. We've been friends for a while but exclusively together for only a month now, and everything seems OK so far. Should I be worried?

— R. R., Buffalo

A: The problem with rebound relationships is that the person who is rebounding usually still is struggling painfully from the loss of his or her previous relationship. The rebound relationship is used as a distraction and a quick fix for their self-esteem.

You are fulfilling the emotional needs of your girlfriend right now as she avoids healing from and dealing with her last relationship. While this may feel nice for a while, with you feeling needed and wanted, she is not in a healthy state of mind right now. If she was left heartbroken, it's likely that she's not in a good place emotionally to be making relationship decisions. Essentially, you're filling the void until she feels ready to move on with her life. She may stay with you, but be prepared: she may leave when she feels stable enough to do so.

Getting involved with someone who's freshly wounded from a relationship is rarely a good idea if you're looking for long-term love. Does it happen? Sure, but not often. Tread carefully with this woman and protect yourself first and foremost.


Patti Novak owns Buffalo Niagara Introductions ( Email questions to and include your initials and hometown.