Ask Wendy

Jewish World Review Oct. 12, 2001/ 25 Tishrei 5762

Vacation separation; Risk present for past?

By Wendy Belzberg -- I recently was browsing the Internet and decided to enter the names of all my ex-girlfriends. Lo and behold, one of my ex's came up, photo and all. I was shocked that somebody I had lost touch with so long ago could suddenly be "virtually" there, right in front of me. Hence my dilemma. I have not seen or spoken to this person in more than a decade. In that time I have married, had two children and moved to the suburbs. Part of me wants to reconnect with this person, but a much bigger part of me says that it would be a huge mistake. Our relationship was intense and tumultuous. What good could come of re-establishing contact with this person? On the other hand, life has become mundane: kids, work, kids, work, sleep, kids, kids, work. Contacting my ex would be something out of the ordinary. What do you think I should do?

A: Memories tend to have little to do with reality, particularly after 10 years of editing and revisions. Any relationship can become predictable and monotonous, even one such as the tumultuous one you describe. It is up to you to address the primary issue - the state of your marriage - not to look for distractions outside of your marriage to break your slump. Why do you think you entered the name of all those exes into the computer in the first place?

By the way, have you considered moving out of the suburbs? It may be high time.

My husband and I vacation every year with the same family. Several months ago the couple separated, so I assumed our annual winter-break adventure was off. The wife just called, however, to say that they wouldn't dream of disrupting our ritual and plan on joining us, with their children. We don't want to be part of some sham.

A: Unless the children don't know that their parents are separated and you are being asked to "keep up appearances," I don't see it as a sham. What I do see is the potential for open warfare - which generally doesn't make for a very relaxing vacation. Just because your friends have called to say they are still going on vacation doesn't mean that you have to go with them.

In the event that your friends have managed to separate with no acrimony or anger - and if you and your husband were wise enough not to take sides during the separation - this sounds like a win-win situation. Especially for their children. Many of my readers would be happy to learn there is a recipe for a friendly divorce. If your friends don't wish to divulge their strategy in my column, direct them to the nearest publishing house. They are sure to have a best-seller on their hands.

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© 2001, Wendy Belzberg