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Dear Amy: I’m a widowed woman (62) and met a man (36) with two young children.

Amy Dickinson 

We’ve been in a relationship for three years and so far I’ve yet to meet his siblings or mom, I can’t go in his house, and we’ve only been intimate a few times.

Our “relationship” consists of phone calls and text messages.

I’ve invited him and the kids to holiday and birthday meals, but he’s always got other plans. I’m never invited to any family gatherings.

He says he cares for me very much — as I do him — but this isn’t working for me. What do you think?


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Dear Wondering: I think this isn’t working for him, either.

I hope you meet a new special someone who wants to open his life to you. This man … ain’t it.

Dear Amy: I started seeing “James” three months ago. I am 35 and he is 40. We both have successful careers, great communication and an appetite for adventure. It has made for an amazing start, but I struggle with some baggage.

James has a 4-year-old daughter part time, whom I adore.

James and his ex “Constance” were together for six years, never married. Constance has always been a stay-at-home mom, raising three older children that James considers stepchildren.

Constance left James. He was shattered and confided in me that she must have been miserable to leave the financial security he provided. The thing is — she still has it!

For the past year, Constance and their daughter reside in the house he bought for the family, no strings — or rent — attached.

Their agreement is that she may stay indefinitely. If she decides to move, he would sell the house and she gets half. He also pays her monthly child support ($500 more than is legally required).

When I expressed how generous he was, James elaborated that he wants his daughter to live comfortably, and Constance takes good care of the property.

While I admire his heart and support, I can’t help but think that James is being overly generous.

He and Constance are not on speaking terms. Constance has been cutting ties between him and her other children. Her eldest child has called her a “gold digger.”

Am I wrong in agreeing that Constance may be abusing James’ generosity? Are splitting assets like this typical for unmarried couples?

I recognize his responsibility to his daughter, but I fear he has been manipulated into financially supporting Constance long term. She has always lived off of child support. It makes me nervous for a potential future together.

Shall I speak up or stay out of it?

Biting My Tongue

Dear Biting: You have been seeing James for three months. Understand that he has the right to spend his money any way he wants to, including this generosity to an ex who isn’t very nice to him.

If he can afford to provide housing for his ex and her children for the indefinite future, and if doing so makes him feel like he’s doing the right thing, then I’d say good for him!

My only concern would be that he doesn’t seem to have a legal agreement with his ex outlining this arrangement. If that’s the case, she is more vulnerable than he is, because he could negate this agreement at any time, especially if he is involved with someone (you, for instance) who seems to think he is a chump and is influencing him.

My advice to you is to enjoy your relationship with him and don’t judge his choices unless and until they have a direct impact on you.

If you two became serious and had a financial entanglement, and certainly if you moved toward cohabitation or marriage, this would become your business.

Dear Amy: A divorced dad [“Missing Friends”] wrote to you about their “couple” friends siding with his ex-wife, leaving him missing their friendship.

I was on the other side of this. I was the wife that was left “taking” all the friends. I didn’t ask people to choose, they just did.

I found that when the dust settled and I invited my ex to events, as he did with me, our friends came around, too, knowing that we could all be at events together with no drama.

No one had to choose sides if we didn’t.

It’s not always easy, but it’s better than being left out.

The Ex

Dear Ex: Well said. Thank you!

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You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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House Democrats go on offense, attacking GOP extremism on abortion, Jan. 6

The House Democratic campaign arm is charting a course to hold Democrats' slim majority in the lower chamber by targeting extremist Republicans on their support for Jan. 6 and criminalizing abortions.

It's a little like the 2012 Todd Akin strategy on steroids. In 2012, then-Rep. Akin practically sunk himself in his bid to unseat then-Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri after suggesting that victims of "legitimate rape" rarely get pregnant. Now, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is making a concerted effort to put GOP extremism on the ballot, branding Republican candidates more broadly as dangerous radicals.

“There’s all these dangerous people running under the new MAGA Republican brand. They’re going to pay a price for it,” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, chair of the DCCC, told Politico. “We’re going to beat them over the head with that.”

Retiring Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky summed up the calculation this way: “If we win, it’s because we scared the crap out of people about the maniacs who will be in charge.”

The strategy is being targeted at a half dozen GOP candidates who have already made eyebrow-raising comments concerning abortion and Jan. 6, but the DCCC is also tracking more than a dozen Republicans who have questioned the outcome of the 2020 election.

Take Yesli Vega, for instance, a local sheriff’s deputy running to unseat Rep. Abigail Spanberger in Virginia's newly drawn 7th District that includes a mix of suburban, rural, and military communities.

In a leaked audio recording, Vega was recently heard downplaying the potential of a pregnancy resulting from rape. In the exchange, Vega was asked whether she's heard that it's "harder for a woman to get pregnant” if she's been raped.

"Well, maybe because there's so much going on in the body. I don't know. I haven't, you know, seen any studies," Vega responded. "I can see why there is truth to that. It's unfortunate."

Spanberger called the remarks "devoid from reality," while also noting that Vega has defended Jan. 6 attackers as a “group of Americans exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Reflecting on the comments, Spanberger wondered, “Can you rely on a person like that to fix real problems?”

Democrats are betting many suburban swing voters will be asking that very same question about Republicans.

“Swing voters are, by definition, reasonable people,” Maloney said. “MAGA Republicans’ obsession with ending abortion, ignoring Jan. 6 and ignoring violence in our schools is not going to sit well with the suburban swing voters they need to win the election.”

There's already some data to back up Maloney's contention. Several polls out this week found a 2- to 3-point uptick in support for Democrats in the congressional generic ballot. All of that movement came from shifting sentiment among independent voters.

An NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll this week also found that nearly 7 in 10 college graduates (69%) oppose the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

Democrats are now aiming to build on the abortion ruling and the Jan. 6 hearings to amplify a broader narrative about a radicalized Republican Party.

In Wisconsin, they're targeting GOP candidate Derrick Van Orden, a former Navy SEAL who is favored to flip a Democratic seat, for using old campaign funds to subsidize his trip to D.C. on Jan. 6.

Similarly, Ohio Air Force veteran JR Majewski raised $25,000 to help transport people to the Jan. 6 protest. He claims his group left before the violence began, but Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur is now running an ad that features photos of Majewski amid the Capitol mayhem.

Another good example comes from New Jersey Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer, who recently released an ad blasting his GOP opponent as an "extremist" for aligning himself with the domestic terrorist group the Oath Keepers.

"I think we need to rethink what the Oath Keepers is, and I stand by them," Republican candidate Frank Pallotta says in the ad. The spot goes on to label Pallotta as "extremist Frank Pallotta" several times as he repeats, "I stand by them."

Highlighting GOP extremism is a far more inspired strategy than obsessing about kitchen table issues, which frankly only reminds voters about inflation and the cost of gas. As Rep. Spanberger noted: Is it really possible for people who are so far removed from reality to solve America’s problems? Do voters really want to put Jan. 6 extremists in charge of a government they sought to overthrow through violent means? The obvious answer for any sane voter is: No.

It’s exactly the type of question Democrats want voters to be contemplating as they cast their votes this fall.

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