My Ex Did Me Wrong, But I’m Not Sure if I Should Kiss and Tell
Q: During my third and last marriage, my husband cleaned me out financially in the short 11 months that we were together. After he used my money to pay off his debts, he announced he no longer loved me and wanted out of the marriage. I was his fourth wife. He was charming, loving and attentive when we were dating. All that changed after we said our vows. Now that we are divorced, he is seeing another woman. This woman’s mother called me up and asked me to talk to her daughter about my ex-husband. I am not sure if I should do this. What do you advise?
A: On the one hand, your ex’s new partner could benefit by hearing about your experience with him; she may learn something that could help her avoid making a marital mistake. On the other hand, she, and/or your ex, could resent you for getting involved in their relationship and trying to sabotage it. And, your ex could have changed his ways and may be a different partner to his new gal.
If you feel some kind of obligation to warn this woman about your ex, here is what I suggest: Tell the new partner’s mother that if she wants you to talk to her daughter about your ex-husband, her daughter has to be the one to call you. That way you are not intruding into her life, but rather responding to her request for information. If she does contact you and you have a discussion about your ex, describe your experiences as objectively as you can without criticizing, bad-mouthing, or interpreting his behavior.
For example, instead of saying “he used his charm to trick me into marrying him and then he stole my money and used me to pay off his debts,” say, “I found him to be quite charming before while we dated, but that changed after we said our vows. Also, after we married he had access to my savings account, which he used to pay off his prior debts. Then, when his debts were paid off, he announced that he was leaving me.”
In other words, try to stick to the facts and let her be the one to interpret them as she sees fit.