What to Do if You Want to Hook Up With Your Ex
After six years of marriage, my husband and I amicably divorced. But for all out differences, the sex was great. Neither of us is involved with anyone, we have no kids, nor do we harbor any illusions of a future together. The love is gone, but there's still plenty of lust. We're both pragmatists, so the idea of an occasional hookup seems like a pretty simple, straightforward plan. So you think it would do any harm?
— Jada, Kentucky
A: Dear Kentucky Woman,
Sex is a whole lot of things, but simple and straightforward just don't make the list. The good news is this: If you two can actually pull it off, you will be making history. Indeed, grad students will receive doctorate degrees based on the theses they write about you. Morgan Freeman will narrate an 11-part PBS documentary about your no-strings arran gement—your names will be right up there with the Wright brothers, the Ming dynasty, and Robert Oppenheimer.
Here's the bad news: The occasional hookup with your ex works brilliantly...until it doesn't. Either one of you meets somebody, leaving the other high and dry, or, worse, the plan keeps you just content enough not to be discontent. I want more for you than that—and I want you to want more, too!
Q: Dear Lisa,
My friend seems angry with me, but I've repeatedly asked what's wrong and she denies any problem. Our sons are also close, but lately her boy is never free for a playdate, and her nanny is blatantly rude when I try to make one. Because I don't know what's wrong, I can't fix it. I worry that I've somehow hurt her feelings. What now?
A: Candy, Girl
I recently waited for a friend at a diner, sweating bullets for 20 minutes, sure I got the time or place wrong. It never dawned on me that it was my friend who screwed up. Don't make the same mistake. Maybe your friend is threatened by your success or too insecure to admit her insecurities, but why drive yourself nuts trying to guess? You've asked, and not only did she lack the decency to be honest, she's dragged the kids into her passive aggression. I feel bad for the boys, but you don't want your son around someone who instructs her nanny not to facilitate playdates. I know it sounds harsh, but whatever you two had isn't worth another try. Spend your time with the kind of people who can be trusted to level with you.
Q: Dear Lisa,
My mom died eight months ago, and I'm constantly running over to check on my dad. My husband was just offered a great job about four hours away, and we'd be happy to have Dad join us. We could even buy a house with an in-law suite where he'd have privacy. He's 74 and doing well—golfing, going to dinner with friends, running errands, managing his money—but he'll eventually need help. How do I talk him into coming?
A: Darling Daughter,
You don't. Your dad has been through a huge trauma, and convincing him to let go of his routines, his community, and the home he shared with his wife is too much too soon. If you can buy a house with a space for him, that's great. Explain that it's available anytime he'd like to visit, and the longer he can stay, the happier everyone will be. Let him know that if he'd ever like to make it permanent, you'd all be thrilled. But Wendy, your father is a grown man with a working mind and body, and he can decide for himself if he's ready for a major change. Maybe the thing to do now is be grateful that he's in a position to take care of himself and be happy that despite this crushing loss, he's found the energy to go to the movies and meet friends for dinner rather than shutting himself off from the world.
I, on the other hand, am exhausted and would welcome a private suite. I don't suppose you offer turndown service and a continental breakfast? Who are we kidding? Just leave a mint on the pillow, and I'm there!
Lisa Kogan is O's writer at large and the author of Someone Will Be with You Shortly: Notes from a Perfectly Imperfect Life. To ask Lisa a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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