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Dear Harriette by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: My ex-husband evidently had children that I did not know about while we were married. Recently, the mother of those children contacted me and let me know that he does not have anything to do with their kids and apologized to me for seeing him while we were together. She went on to ask me if my kids could meet her kids because they are siblings. I declined because I do not know this woman, and I feel that it should be my ex-husband who facilitates any meetings between siblings. Am I being unreasonable? — Meet the Siblings

DEAR MEET THE SIBLINGS: Before you meet this woman or her children, talk to your ex-husband. First, acknowledge how messy this situation is. Shame on him for making a secret family that he isn’t supporting.

Take a deep breath. Calm yourself to the best of your ability. Then, find your ex and ask to talk to him. Tell him that this woman contacted you and told you about her children. Ask him if they are indeed his children. If so, talk to him about making the introduction. Yes, it would be good for siblings to know each other, but it is already stressful that you are dealing with the aftershock of the divorce, at least for your kids. Be very careful before introducing other people into the mix, especially children. Your ex first needs to own up to this family’s existence. Ideally, he should make the introduction. He should not get a pass from providing for them or for your children.

If he admits that these children are his but won’t facilitate an introduction, you have to decide next steps. The children are innocent in this situation, but life can get messy. You may want to start by meeting the mother and the children separately to get a sense of the life they live and how you and your children might figure into it.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend and I want to get an apartment together; we both still live with our parents and have part- time jobs right now. She plans on going to nursing school next year, and I’m looking for a better job, but we have a plan to save enough money to move within the next six months because we really want to be together as much as possible. Everyone thinks we’re moving too fast, but the pandemic has shown us that tomorrow really isn’t promised, so what should we be waiting on? — Ready To Move

DEAR READY TO MOVE: Everyone has a valid thought about your future. You and your girlfriend want to build that future together. Your families want you to slow down and get grounded before taking on added expense and responsibilities. Both make sense.

What can you do? Save every penny. Wait for your girlfriend to enroll in school and figure out what her expenses will be then, as well as how much time she has to devote to building a relationship with you immediately.

She may need space to get settled into the groove of school before moving.

Rather than rushing into the move, make a plan together. Use a calendar and map out a strategy with markers for success that lead you to a move-in date and beyond. That way you can work together toward a shared goal and prove to yourselves and your loved ones that you are committed and ready.

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