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If your goal is simply to communicate that you two aren’t on friendly terms, you can say something like, “We went through a difficult divorce, and it’s better for the two of us not to socialize.” You may have to smile and nod at some of the same work events, but at least you can let your friends know that you’re not so friendly you’d like to be invited to the same dinner party.

But if you’re feeling a desire to share the truth of your abusive marriage with some of your friends, then I think you can go into greater detail about why you left, to whatever extent you feel comfortable with.

It’s heartening to see that you understand this as a personally painful but acceptable outcome—ultimately, it’s for the best that Anita does not feel financially pressured into giving up a child that she wants to parent.

You don’t say, however, that she is in danger of a medical or housing crisis without your support—just that she will not be able to afford “the same level of care” without your continued assistance.

But upon rereading your letter—the fact that you appear to have been paying Anita directly, that you found out by accident that she can’t go through with the adoption, that there’s no mention anywhere of any mediators—I suspect you have been pursuing an independent adoption.

If you have been working with an attorney, signed any sort of agreement with Anita, or had any contact with a reputable agency, please seek advice from them about what responsibilities you may have toward her for the remainder of her pregnancy.

She was going through a rough time personally and began watching; over the years, she has become so obsessed with one of the lead actors that she now spends thousands of dollars to go to conventions across the country, attends related events, and generally finds reasons to be in his neighborhood.

She’s due in six weeks, and we discovered by accident that at some point she’d changed her mind. Anita won’t be able to afford the same level of care without our money, and her mother has accused us of being heartless. We can’t afford to support Anita and pursue adoption.

Dear Prudence, I’ve known my friend “B” for around five years.

We met as students and had a wonderful companionship through school and still remain close.

Thanks for listening.” Implicit in your question seems to be a fear that by acknowledging your ex-husband’s abuse, you’ll either be flagged as someone who violates professional and social etiquette, or be thought of as a “downer.” I don’t think that’s the case.

You’re not obligated to keep silent, or pretend that you two parted amicably, just because he works in your field, or because you haven’t talked about it before.

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