See more of the story

Dear Amy: I started seeing "James" three months ago. I am 35, and he is 40. We both have successful careers, great communication and an appetite for adventure. It has made for an amazing start, but I struggle with some baggage.

James has a 4-year-old daughter part time, whom I adore. James and his ex "Constance" were together for six years. Constance always has been a stay-at-home mom, raising three older children that James considers his stepchildren even though he and Constance were never married.

Constance left James, and he was shattered. But for the past year, Constance and their daughter have lived in the house he bought for the family, no strings — or rent — attached.

Their agreement is that she can stay indefinitely. If she decides to move, he would sell the house and she would get half the money. He also pays her monthly child support ($500 more than is legally required).

When I expressed how generous he was, James elaborated that he wants his daughter to live comfortably, and Constance takes good care of the property.

While I admire his heart and support, I can't help but think that he is being overly generous. He and Constance are not on speaking terms. Constance has been cutting ties between him and her other children.

Her eldest child has called her a "gold digger" in the process. Am I wrong in agreeing with that child that Constance is abusing James' generosity?

I recognize his responsibility to his daughter, but I fear he has been manipulated into financially supporting Constance long term. It makes me nervous for our potential future together.

Amy says: James has the right to spend his money any way he wants to, including this generosity to an ex who isn't very nice to him.

If he can afford to provide housing for his ex and her children for the indefinite future, and if doing so makes him feel like he's doing the right thing, then I'd say, good for him!

From what you say, it seems that he doesn't have a legal agreement with his ex outlining their arrangement. If that's the case, she is more vulnerable than he is, because he could negate this agreement at any time, especially if he is involved with someone (you, for instance) who seems to think he is a chump and is influencing him.

My advice to you is to enjoy your relationship with him and don't judge his choices unless and until they have a direct impact on you. If you two became serious and had a financial entanglement, and certainly if you moved toward cohabitation or marriage, this would become your business.

Mismatched pair

Dear Amy: I'm a widowed woman (62) and met a man (36) with two young children. We've been in a relationship for three years, and so far it has consisted only of phone calls and text messages. I've yet to meet his siblings or mom, I can't go in his house, and we've been intimate only a few times.

I've invited him and the kids to holiday and birthday meals, but he always has other plans. Meanwhile, I'm never invited to any of his family gatherings.

He says he cares for me very much — as I do him — but this isn't working for me. What do you think?

Amy says: I think this isn't working for him, either. I hope you meet a new special someone who wants to open his life to you. This man isn't it.

Send questions to Amy Dickinson at