My ex-husband, the father of my two young children, moved to the Catskills with his girlfriend. He hasn’t been seeing our kids during the pandemic because he says his girlfriend is “terrified she will die if they visit.” She claims to have a lung issue (that he only learned about recently). The kids and I have been staying at home in Brooklyn for over a month. No one is sick. And I’ve been on my own with them this whole time. I could use a little break. Can I ask my ex to take them to the Catskills for a visit?
I can only imagine how stressed out (and exhausted) you are by now! But please don’t send your children to the Catskills. It’s risky. The president’s Coronavirus Task Force calls for 14 days of self-quarantine after leaving hot spots like Brooklyn. Do you really want your kids alone in a guest room for two weeks before they join a household where one of the adults is terrified of them?
It’s not fair to question the girlfriend’s recent claim of a pulmonary condition either, tempting as that may be. Before this pandemic, there was little reason to share relatively minor health problems that could be big risk factors now.
You will probably notice that I’ve been no help to you so far. So, here’s an idea: Can your ex come to Brooklyn? If he stays at your apartment or finds a place nearby, he can pitch in with the kids. It’s not ideal. He will have to quarantine when he goes home again, and his girlfriend may not love the idea. Still, after a month (and counting!) on your own with two children, it’s the least he can do as a co-parent.
Neighborliness Is a Two-Way Street
A woman I know has become much friendlier since our stay-at-home order was put in place. She often calls just to see how I’m doing. Then she asks whether I’m going grocery shopping and if I will pick up some things for her. I have done so a few times, dropping off her groceries in her lobby. But when I ask her to reciprocate, she says she’s too busy. Her risk from coronavirus is no greater than mine. By asking me to spend more time in stores and at her building, she is jeopardizing my health to protect her own. How can I say that I’ll help her only if she helps me?
Selfish friends are the worst! But for me, they are only slightly more annoying than friends who police strict tit-for-tat arrangements. I don’t like ledgers in my friendships.
Sure, friends make mistakes all the time. If you actually like this woman, say: “Why do you keep asking me to shop for you?” Then discuss the imbalance. Otherwise, when she next requests delivery service, just say: “Sorry, I don’t want to prolong my time in the shops or on the street.”
No Time for Inheritance Talk