Q: My ex-husband has started bringing his girlfriend to our daughter’s high school swim meets. Although my daughter says she doesn’t mind, the woman’s presence makes me very uncomfortable. Shouldn’t he, out of respect for me, keep her away from public gatherings where he knows I’ll be?
A: If your breakup is a recent or acrimonious one, your wanting to maintain a certain distance is understandable. In that case, perhaps you and your ex-husband could arrange to go to alternative swim meets. But you can’t escape him or her forever: When you all live in the same town, running into one another is going to happen sooner or later-if not at your daughter’s high school, then in a store or restaurant. And to look at the situation from his point of view, it’s only natural that he would want a girlfriend, particularly one he’s getting serious about, to take an interest in his daughter’s activities. Because it isn’t quite fair to expect a “keep away” arrangement forever, you can simply hope that this won’t be such a difficult matter for you as time goes by.