She wants to go on a college tour with her ex

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I have been with my partner for 13 years and we got married two years ago, AFTER a four-year separation. We have one teenage (adopted) son together and we are all three living in the same home. Here’s the problem: My wife has an ex-partner from long before and they have two children. They are both 20 years old.

My wife's breakup, some 15 years ago, was horrific. Her ex left her for a close friend, to give you some idea. That stung her for a few years, but after some time, they're now best buddies who co-parent two adults, who, in my opinion, are simply rude. One of them is settled in college and the other will be going off is still deciding between two schools in another state.

Just an hour ago, my wife asked me if it would be okay if she and her ex went off to that state (far away) for a few days together to check out the schools that their son may end up going to. I have been exceptionally open to, and gracious with her ex as well as the two "children" who I helped to raise for the first six or so years of our relationship. HOWEVER, this lesbian triangulation does not sit well with me. I come from a family of divorce and there is no way in heck that my parents, after their split, would have EVER considered flying across the country and likely sharing a hotel room (saving money) to help me vet schools while THEIR spouses (the ex is single) are at home. This irks me to no end and, my passive-aggressive wife is now saying things about how she guesses she could go by herself "and do all that driving." I'm not at all up for this. Am I being unreasonable?

– Unreasonable?


I need to disclose that I have a biased lens here because I'm a child of divorce, just like you. My parents were not the kind of divorced people to take me on a college tour together. But wow, I would have been so excited if they had pulled it off.

I can't object to your ex planning a trip like this and investing time in their kid. It's hard for me to think about it any other way.

The issue seems to be you and your partner. For some reason, you're missing trust. Maybe you're missing attention – and fun – at home. Maybe that four-year separation left scars that haven't been talked about. I guess my point is that the trip seems like a one-off thing. It doesn't even sound like a romantic journey (I took my friend's daughter on college tours in California and my back hurt after like four hours, and I was dehydrated after about one day. I mean, I loved it, but the experience was all about family and gathering information.)

The partnership – what happens between the two of you at home – is the most important thing. If you can't feel good about her co-parenting with a smile on her face, maybe the two of you could use some extra guidance in therapy. Perhaps there needs to be more planning for the happiness you share – your own family trips and romantic time. Maybe you need a third party to help you talk about your issues with the kids.

I don't see your concerns as unreasonable, but I don't think they’re about a college visit road trip. They seem to be about something bigger.

– Meredith

Readers? Is this trip a problem?