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Dear Flora: Bad Exes Abound

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Dear Flora,

My long term boyfriend and I split up recently and we have been trying to stay friends while we work on ourselves with the intention of getting back together eventually but dating other people while we work on ourselves in the meantime. I was fine with him dating but the day after I posted about grabbing coffee with someone he blocked me on every social media platform despite the fact that he is already living with his new partner. I have asked him to come get his stuff since it seems he isn’t handling this separation well and we likely wont end up back together and he keeps refusing to respond to me. I don’t want to throw out his belongings but I didn’t sign up to be a storage facility. How do I make him come get his stuff and stop being such a hypocrite so that I can move on?  

-Moving on in Madison

Dear MoiM,

First of all, let me say how proud I am that you've recognized that you and your ex boyfriend aren't meant to be. Since he's living with a new partner, I'd say that you're correct to assume that you two are through. That said, there's no easy way going about returning possessions to an ex. You don't want to have their stuff around, but you don't want to face personal-- or legal-- trouble by mishandling their property.

I think that as long as you've made a good-faith effort to contact him about returning his belongings, then you're (mostly) in the clear. My suggestion is to use any means possible to contact him: phone, text, email, and connect with any account he may have that you could reach him through. Make sure you keep a record of your exchanges, just in case he claims that you're legally at fault for missing or damaged items later. Send him the same message:

"Hey, [name], it's [your name.] I want to get your belongings back to you as soon as possible. If you want to pick them up, I will keep them here until [date.] After that, I will drop them off at your house."

If nothing else, it'll get him to talk to you. If you get into legal trouble, contact a lawyer right away!

Dear Flora,

I'm due to have a baby in a few weeks, and I don't want the dad in the room with me when I give birth. He wasn't there for my pregnancy, and we broke up right before I found out I was pregnant. He's the only possible dad, so he knows it's his kid. But he's a huge jerk, and keeps threatening to take me to court right after the baby is born. How can I stop him from being in my delivery room, and can I stop him getting rights to our baby since he verbally and emotionally abused me during our relationship?

-Scared Mommy

Dear Mommy,

Congratulations on your little one! This is a good time to remind you that the birth of the child is a beautiful and joyful event, even if it doesn't feel like it right now. It's hard to see the good in the day when you're being threatened all the time by your baby's father, and even harder to enjoy the end of pregnancy with a dark cloud looming over you.

The good news here is that there are very few cases when men have been legally granted the right to be in the delivery room for the birth of their child. Remember that you are a patient in the hospital, and the staff are bound to obey your wishes about who may or may not be present for your medical procedures. And make no mistake, childbirth IS a medical procedure! I recommend providing a list of people who ARE allowed to be present for delivery to the staff upon your arrival. They'll block anyone not on the list.

The bad news is that there's not much you can do about preventing him from getting parental rights, unless you can provide some pretty devastating evidence to the court that you were abused. I really recommend contacting a family law professional about the particularities of your state and situation, but it seems very likely that you may be facing a co-parenting relationship with your ex. Stay strong, be calm, and document everything. Good luck!

That's it for this week's column! Don't forget to send in your questions to the Google Form, and you may see it in the next installment! Goodbye for now!

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