cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I am sure this issue affects many people, but I have not seen it addressed in your column. Oftentimes married partners are separated by many years in age. Eventually the older of them has to enter a long-term care facility due to a mental/physical defect.

Even though the bond and love that kept them together over the years still exists, the younger still has physical and emotional needs that can no longer be met by the older spouse. What are the ethics in the younger one having a "friend with benefits" to address those needs, if it's done discreetly without causing embarrassment and humiliation to the older spouse? -- FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

DEAR FRIENDS: This is a highly personal decision that no one can make for anyone else. While many readers may disagree, I see nothing wrong with taking care of yourself as long as you remember you have a moral obligation to support your spouse "'til death do you part." To me that means visiting and spending time with your spouse every day to ensure his/her needs are taken care of in a compassionate and diligent manner, and to let the person know he or she is loved.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
Note:Making a judgment call on the second trigger warning there.

Verbal abuse and victim-blaming )
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I am estranged from my son because he changed his last name when he married. He did it over my objection. Reportedly, his wife's parents tried to dissuade them from doing it, too. The explanation we were given was "they need to have the same last name to feel like a family." I suppose our last name was not acceptable, although they claimed they had nothing against it.

I tried to compromise and suggested my son use a hyphenated name. They agreed to it, but changed their minds after the wedding. I suspect that their reason was they want their children to have a different last name than ours.

What is your take on this? Am I overreacting by wanting to have nothing to do with them? -- MOM OF ANOTHER NAME

DEAR MOM: Yes, you are overreacting. If you keep this up, your grandchildren will miss out on a loving grandma. It is possible that your son and his wife preferred a name that was less ethnic or easier to spell. Hyphenating names can create problems -- especially if it continues into the next generation.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband recently died, and I have just learned he had an illegitimate son 25 years ago. The son tracked me down wanting to know things about his biological father. My late husband and I had two children before this one was born. So, do I tell my children they have a half-brother and his aunts they have another nephew? -- TRACKED DOWN IN ILLINOIS

DEAR TRACKED DOWN: I see no reason to make any announcements right now. Keep the news to yourself until you are sure that the man wants more contact with his relatives and isn't just looking for medical information that could affect him. You also should make absolutely certain that he truly is your late husband's son by discussing it with an attorney before sharing any news or details.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I have a tough problem. I care very much for my girlfriend. She keeps me in check and does everything for me. However, my best friend's sister and I are extremely close. By close, I mean we have conversations about how things would be if we were dating. We have so much fun together. We never, ever argue, whereas my girlfriend and I are constantly fighting. I legitimately want the other girl, but I don't know what I should do. -- SCARED AND STUCK IN ST. PAUL

DEAR SCARED AND STUCK: You are a free man, neither married nor engaged. Because you have romantic feelings for someone else, gather your courage and level with your girlfriend. Tell her that while you appreciate everything she has done for you, you want to be free to date other people and think she should, too. The news will probably come as a shock to her, but it's the honest thing to do and better for both of you.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: There is a boy I like at school. He is a very well-known person around school. I'm not. I do have a wide variety of friends, and I even talk to some of his.

My friends know I like him, and they would like for me to talk to him. I wouldn't mind that, but what would I say? They want it to happen in person, but I want to do it by text, where I feel more me. What should I do? -- TENNESSEE TEEN

DEAR TEEN: Listen to your friends and approach him in person. A smile and a hello should break the ice. Then follow it up with a question about some activity that's happening at school.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I recently had a baby girl, our first. We both work full-time, but my husband is gone nights and weekends and I'm the primary parent at home with our daughter.

Something has been bothering me since my daughter came along. My in-laws have never once told me I'm doing a good job as a mother. I'm critiqued every time they come over, whether it be that her hands are too cold, her room is too warm or her nails are too "sharp."

They compliment my husband repeatedly, and he's the first to give all the credit to me, but I feel like they don't think I'm doing a good job and it makes me feel bad. Am I being too sensitive? -- CRITICIZED ALL THE TIME

DEAR CRITICIZED: It is possible that in making these comments, your in-laws are simply trying to be helpful. Instead of regarding them as criticism, take them under consideration.

However, if your hurt feelings persist, you -- or your husband -- should point out to his parents that in trying to be helpful, they have forgotten to be supportive, and mention some of the things you are doing right.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR HARRIETTE: My cousin and I have been close for all my life. We are about the same age, and we go to the same college. We applied to all the same schools and even have the same major. It has been fun having her to share the college experience with.

This morning, I received a text message from my cousin asking me to write a research paper for her. She offered me compensation for this. I was stunned. I have never even thought about having someone else do my work. I warned her about plagiarism and that her academic integrity is being placed on the line. How can I get the point across that she should never try to get out of doing her own work? -- Not Your Words, Syracuse, New York

DEAR NOT YOUR WORDS: It is doubtful that you can change your cousin’s mind about her unethical behavior. What you can do is put your foot down and let her know where you stand. Have a sincere conversation with her. Talk about your life together and all the things that you have enjoyed together over the years. Remind her of how excited you both were when you got into the same college. Impress upon her how special you believe it is that the two of you are on this journey together. Then, tell her that you do not think it is honest or wise to blur the lines the way she has suggested. Tell her that you absolutely will not write a paper for her, and that you do not think this is a path she should travel. Urge her to dig in and do the work herself.
cereta: Vic from Non Sequitur (Non Sequitur - Vic)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Prudence,
I recently rented a room from a single man whom I had a lot of chemistry with at the rental interview. I vowed not to pursue anything before moving in because he introduced his girlfriend (though seeing how they interacted with each other, I felt doubt as to whether she was really his girlfriend). A few days later, he invited me to an art event he was hosting. He seemed extremely happy to see me, got me a drink, and later sat down beside me and told me his life story, including a couple of serious health conditions. It was clear his implicit question was whether they were deal-breakers for me.

Afterward, I started to walk away, and he suddenly said in a shocked voice that he’d kissed my ear instead of my cheek when we said goodbye. I realized later he’d made a pass at me. Since then, it was somehow as if we’d agreed to pretend nothing ever happened. He recently told me he’d be home all day, with the implicit message that maybe we could hang out, but then wasn’t.
 He also has a relatively new business that keeps him busy. Should I write him off as unavailable, or try to talk to him? Ideally, I’d like to slowly begin to date him, though I worry that’s unwise, because moving again is impossible at the moment, both financially and emotionally.

—Perplexed

Oh, honey. You have expended more emotional energy on a man you have met twice than some people give to actual relationships. Of course she is his real girlfriend. Of course you should write him off as unavailable. This man is your landlord. When he tells you about his health problems, it is not because he is testing your compatibility. Whether the accidental ear-kiss was a clumsy, half-hearted attempt at flirting or simply a fumbled goodbye, it was certainly not an invitation to a relationship. I can guarantee that he has not spent a tenth of the mental energy you have on dissecting your few interactions. Pay him your rent on time and look for a boyfriend elsewhere.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Annie: For the past year, my wife, "Janie," has been getting hot flashes. She is always broiling in the house while the rest of the family freezes. She insists on keeping the temperature at 70, while the rest of us are most comfortable at 74. She recently purchased warm slippers for everyone and suggested we wear long sleeves.

Annie, I like to wear T-shirts and walk barefoot. I work long hours, and when I come home, I like to shed most of my clothes. I pay the mortgage and should not be freezing in my own home. Our family doctor said the hot flashes could last for years. I say she is disrespectful to all of us. She says I am insensitive. We are at an impasse.

I found out she is looking for an apartment. I love my wife and beg you to help us before it's too late. — Upstate New York Where It's 20 Degrees Outside

Dear New York: You think you're uncomfortable? Imagine how your wife feels with an internal thermostat that periodically sets her on fire. The U.S. Dept. of Energy recommends that your home thermostat be set at 68 degrees in winter (78 degrees in summer). You can warm up more easily than your wife can cool down.

We recommend a compromise. You offer to be comfortable in sweats if she will speak to her doctor about medication to control her hot flashes or visit a health food store for more natural remedies. A pair of slippers and some hot cocoa seems a small price to pay to save your marriage.
cereta: Barbara Gordon, facepalming (babsoy)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR HARRIETTE: My neighbor has been having sprinkler consultations for the past few weeks because he doesn't want even a drop of his water to land on my lawn. I have my own system that works just fine and has been great for years. It's not fancy, but it keeps my lawn healthy.

I honestly think that this guy is crazy, but my wife is encouraging me to have a conversation to see why he is truly doing this. I don't think this is some sort of hidden issue with boundaries -- some neighbors are simply unbearable. Do I give in to the urging of my wife or take this man for who he is? -- Grass Is Greener, Pikesville, Maryland

DEAR GRASS IS GREENER: Start by taking a deep breath. Stop assuming what your neighbor's motive is, especially since you tend to assume the negative. You cannot know what your neighbor's intention is without asking. But please do not ask with anger or hostility in your tone. Before asking, consider the range of reasons he may be doing this. One could be that he should not be watering your lawn without your permission. In truth, he really should be able to control where his sprinklers direct their spray.

Go with curiosity. Ask your neighbor why he has been interviewing so many sprinkler businesses. What is he looking for? Be curious about his research. If you firmly believe he is trying to keep water off your lawn, ask him if that is the case. Let him know that it would not offend you if some of his water touched your grass even as you point out what system you already have in place.

Know that he may not tell you what he has in mind for his lawn, and that's his prerogative. Ultimately, you may have to ignore his research efforts. As long as he does nothing to harm your lawn or your property, you may have to shrug this off as him just being an obsessive neighbor.
cereta: "Candid" shot from Barbie Princess Charm school of goofy faces. (Barbie is goofy)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend is convinced that bleaching her hair after a bad breakup is the only way to get over her ex. Clearly, this isn't true and will completely ruin her hair for years to come. I don't think the damage is worth it and have never even dyed my hair, yet I've gotten over breakups just fine.

I already told her this would be like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die, but she is not having it. Have I done enough as a friend to stop her? I don't want to be the soundboard to her complaints after she goes through with this. -- Bleach Blonde, Las Vegas

DEAR BLEACH BLONDE: People find all kinds of unusual ways to say goodbye to bad relationships. While bleaching absolutely does damage your hair, for most people, the hair will grow back, and you can cut the dry, bleach-burned hair off. In other words, your best friend's way of exorcising her grief may not be the worst choice she could have made.

As far as you having to listen to her lament the state of her hair sometime down the line, it will be up to you what you do when she starts the complaints. You can foreshadow your intended reaction by telling her now that when her hair starts falling out, she shouldn't come to you for sympathy. But in the moment, you will have to speak up and tell her you are unwilling to hear to her sob story because you really did predict that it would happen. Good luck with that!
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I have a friend in her mid-40s who has naturally dark hair she keeps cut short. It looked fine.

A few months ago, she bleached her hair platinum blond. She said she was going for a look that will include dark roots, but she has kept the roots platinum, so now her hair just looks white -- especially in pictures. She posted photos of herself with her boyfriend on Facebook, and while I was scrolling down, my initial reaction was, "Who is that elderly woman he's sitting with?"

A mutual friend commented to me how bad my friend's hair looks and how aging it is. Should I mention to her that her hair color makes her look 20 years older? Telling someone her hair doesn't look good can be hurtful, but if it were me, I'd want to know. -- HELPFUL IN HAWAII

DEAR HELPFUL: Be diplomatic, but tell her. A tactful way to lead in would be to say you saw the pictures she posted on Facebook and the platinum hair makes her look "older." However, unless she asks how much older, don't volunteer, because if you say it's two decades, she may take offense.
cereta: Barbie as SuperSparkle (Barbie doubts your commitment to Sparkle)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I've been with my husband for five years, but we've been married only for a year. He told me a few months ago that his ex-girlfriend said he is the father of her child. We did a home DNA test and it showed he is not the father. In spite of that, my husband insists he still wants to take care of the child. I don't know what to do. Please help. -- THROWN IN NEW YORK

DEAR THROWN: It appears that what your husband wants is to maintain a close tie to the child's mother, because that is what will happen if he takes financial responsibility for her child. Tell your husband you want to discuss this with the help of a professional mediator, preferably a marriage counselor. If he refuses, talk to an attorney because you may be needing one.

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