Dear Barb: On Divorce and Racism

Dear Barb:

I have been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half. We get along great for the most part. I have a seven-year-old son from a previous marriage, who lives with me half of the time. Since my husband and I separated we have always gotten together on special occasions, Christmas, Easter etc. for the sake of our son. We felt it was good to show him that mommy and daddy are still friends. The problem is my boyfriend is feeling uncomfortable with this. He thinks my son and I should spend these occasions with him. We do plan to marry one day and he says my son should see us as a family. I haven’t said anything to my ex about this, as he doesn’t have anyone in his life and seems perfectly happy with this arrangement. What do you think? Thanks Christina

Hi Christina:

Excellent question! How fortunate is your son that his parents get along so well. So many divorced parents can’t be in the same room together for fear of an outburst. Without question your situation is much healthier. However, I can see your boyfriend’s point of view. If you two are going to marry and form a family, then you need to cut the ties with your ex so that he can begin new traditions with his and your son. At some point he will also have someone in his life with whom he will want to share holidays.

So, you and your ex need to come to an arrangement, perhaps agreeing to have your son on alternate Christmases and holidays. It’s a good idea to prepare your son ahead of time for this arrangement, telling him that daddy and you are still friends, but that you are going to take turns spending holidays with him. He may be resistant at first, but kids are very resilient. Once he sees that everyone is still happy and getting along, he will ultimately accept this as the new normal. Thanks for writing, Christina.

Dear Barb:

I have a friend who is extremely racist! We have been friends for about five years and I have noticed her becoming more and more racist especially toward the Muslim people. It has gotten to the point that if we are in a public place and she sees a woman wearing a Burka she makes a face and whispers a rude comment to me. I really don’t appreciate this and I don’t think it is right to paint all Muslim people with the same brush. Lately I am finding it difficult to be around her. How can I get my friend to stop these racist remarks!

Hey Maria:

Unfortunately there is a lot of racism against the Islamic/Muslim people as a result of the terrorism going on in the world. It is regrettable that some individuals are treating a whole group of people as if they were evil just because of a few radical extremists. We have a responsibility to stop the escalation of this hatred and prejudice. Tell your friend that you do not agree with her view and that you would appreciate her not making comments or gestures in your presence. If she continues perhaps you will have to make a decision whether this is a person you want to spend your time with. Thanks Maria for writing in about a very important issue.

RACISM: the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.