Red Responds: He Wants to Make it Up to Her

I’ve been thinking about moving closer to my son’s father (ex-husband) for about six months. I’ve decided that it would be ideal so my son could spend more time with his father. Additionally, my time could be freed up a bit in order for me to return to school and do other things. 

Recently, I’ve started discussing this with him and he’s becoming more and more generous both in taking care of little things (like getting my car fixed) and financially (buying plane tickets for my son and I to go visit my brother out of state). He says that he likes doing things like that because he likes to take care of his family and he wants to make it up to me.


Should I be worried that he is expecting a reconciliation when I move closer to him?


Melody in Los Angeles

Dear Melody,

Your ex would absolutely love to have you and your son closer to him, and he is trying to entice you into making that transition. While he would like the opportunity to see if there is a chance of reconciliation for the two of you, he does not come through as expecting you to be coming towards him with open arms.

Do yourself a favor and clearly outline your boundaries to him. Effective communication now can save you a lot of miscommunication later. I don’t know if you are aware of this or not, but you do occasionally throw the guy mixed signals. Try to be more consciously aware of how you handle your interactions with him, and you are less likely to fall into patterns that he could find misleading.

Your ex genuinely doesn’t mind helping you out, but this could potentially cause problems if you keep accepting the help offered. While he does feel the need to make things up to you, you may find yourself in a position where you feel indebted to him. The most simplistic way to avoid a complicated situation is to think things through. Be careful of how much “help” you accept, and you can avoid some complications that are likely to arise in the future.

If you want your ex to remain your ex, then you must treat him like one. This does not mean being cruel, harsh or unkind – but it does mean that his presence isn’t here to benefit you. While schedules and such can be worked out so that he can have more time with your son, you will need to set boundaries as to how involved he is in your life. A true friendship can exist between the two of you, but a certain level of personal distance should be maintained.

This move could prove to be beneficial to the three of you, particularly if honest and effective communication is in place.

Good luck!
Ext. 9226

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