Life Advice



Ask Amy: Mother frets over monstrous middle name

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Now that your daughter is an adult, you should be more forthcoming.

There are valid reasons to disclose your ex-husband’s history of addiction to your daughter.

Drug and alcohol abuse might explain (but not excuse) some of his out-of-control behavior during your marriage. Addiction might answer some unanswered questions your daughter has held from her own experiences with her father.

And addiction does seem to run in some families, so your daughter should be told about it.

You should answer any question honestly, but in my opinion you should keep in mind that a child benefits from an attachment to a parent (even a deeply flawed one), while an adult has the duty and responsibility to make their own decisions about their own relationships.

So no – don’t describe her father as a “monster,” even though his behavior was monstrous.


This would not necessarily lead to her picking another middle name for her child, and would box both of you into a corner.

You should completely separate the conversation about your past from the middle name conversation, because when it comes to their child’s name, the parents get to choose, and if you don’t like the name they choose, then … too bad.

Dear Amy: I’ve been with my boyfriend “Anthony” for three years. We met in college and moved in together after graduation.

I absolutely adore him and he and I are very compatible and very kind and loving toward each other. Our families know one another and get along well.


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