minoanmiss: Theran girl gathering saffron (Saffron-Gatherer)
[personal profile] minoanmiss
My mother recently remarried, and her new husband has a young daughter. My stepsister spends most of her time with her mother, but she spends some weekends and holidays with her dad and my mom. My mother was a decent parent (I’m 22), but she has always been self-involved and insensitive. Whenever I spend time with her and my stepsister, I notice my mom acting in ways that were hurtful to me as a child. I feel I have some responsibility to protect this kid, but when I broach the topic, my mother gets very upset. Should I back off and commiserate with my stepsister when she’s old enough? Or is there a way to talk about this to my mom that will let me help the child in a more immediate way? Name Withheld


Have you made it clear that what you are saying is based in your own experience? If you’ve already done so and she hasn’t changed her behavior, I’m not sure it’s worth insisting. Take consolation in the fact that your stepsister spends less time with your mother than you did (and has her own mother as well), and that you’ll be around to talk it through with her later.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I'm starting to worry about my boyfriend's relationship with his mother. He's deploying at the end of the month. We have been friends for a long time and dating for a year. He's 31 and lives with his parents. We had just gotten a place together prior to finding out about his deployment.

The problem is, his mother comes over constantly, and she waits on him hand and foot. She tags along to his sporting events and cheers him on as if he's a 6-year-old. If he's hungry, she rushes to fix his food and brings him lunch while he's working. She makes all of his doctors' appointments for him and is on his bank account. She also texts me to find out where he is if he has been out of touch for a few hours.

She has taken a lot of time off work to spend with him. I hardly see him alone anymore because he's constantly with her. At the beginning of his deployment, he will be in Texas for a month. During that time he will get a week off. He told his mom the dates of his time off prior to telling me, and she booked a flight for the entire time! This means I will have no alone time with him or time to say a private goodbye.

I love him very much, but this whole mom thing has got me second-guessing everything. Abby, is this normal? -- COMING IN SECOND

DEAR COMING IN SECOND: No, it's not normal. It appears that when your boyfriend was born, the umbilical cord, instead of being severed, remained securely in place.

I hope you realize that if you should marry him at some point, you will be getting a husband who never learned independence, and you will be expected to take up exactly where his mother left off. Your problem is not that you are "coming in second," honey, it's that he appears to be already married -- to Mom!
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
NB: All of the Annie's Mailbox columns being posted at Arcamax are reruns from a few years ago, but I still find them interesting.

Really mean-spirited pranks )
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.

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