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Q. My husband's ex keeps hitting him up for more alimony and child support, yet she hardly ever lets him see his kids. As a result, we can't afford to go out and we fight over silly things. What can I do?
Patricia Dunn Horn, L.C.P.C., a counselor on the staff of the Catholic Charities in Alton, Illinois, answers:
A. Understandably, you are angry and resentful. But to preserve your sanity and your marriage, follow this cardinal rule: Stay out of any conflicts between your husband and his former wife. If the ex isn't abiding by the visitation agreement, it's your husband's responsibility to find a lawyer to fight for his rights. Remember, too, that his children are entitled to their dad's financial support -- and you surely wouldn't respect him if he neglected their needs.
Meanwhile, immediate action is needed to strengthen your marriage. Though your budget may be tight, there are plenty of inexpensive activities that will help the two of you bond. Check out free or low-cost local plays and concerts, work out together at the Y, rent movies, or drive to the beach. It may not always be easy, but try to be the positive, supportive partner he needs.