Carolyn Hax: An abusive ex is terminally ill. Should you help with his care?


Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My ex-husband and I have been divorced for about 10 years. Our kids are grown and in their 20s and 30s. My ex and I still live in the same town

Our marriage had some happy times and I do not wish Make an effort for milestone events for children. My husband was an alcoholic who was verbally and emotionally abused me, so I do not want to spend time with him alone.

He was recently given a diagnosis for a terminal illness related to alcoholism. Our kid who lives is here to help with his care, mostly driving to appointments and visiting him. He will always be my kids. But I'm not sure I want to, or can, spend this much time with him one-on-one. I'm trying to decide what to do, and it feels like there are no good options.

– Ex

Former: I'm comfortable saying I'm comfortable saying you're going to be hard on your kid. also think it's worth sorting through the possibilities for helping out.

(Nick Galifianakis / for The Washington Post)

Find the ones that you allow you to take care of your child. Running errands? You can do that. Not with your ex, but on your own with a list, sure. Visiting him? Nope. Driving him somewhere? Maybe, maybe not, depending – but can you order rides? Taxi, Uber / Lyft? Can you tap any public resources for people with health problems? Can you get someone to ride along with you? Can you arrange a swap with someone who has a similar toxic (ex-) related – kind of a "Strangers on a Train" except with carpooling instead of murder?

Anyway. When someone asks you, especially when saying yes would involve pushing healthy boundaries. But I do not think it will be the only way to keep your health intact.

Re: Ex: There are several additional options: hire to caregiver to handle the doctor appointments and hospital visits; hire a case manager to handle the medical care issues for the ex-spouse; ask the siblings of the local kid to help out when they visit the caregiver's or the case manager's cost; find and obtain the services of the local social services agency to handle the terminally ill find and obtain similar services offered by the clergy of the former's faith.


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