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 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.
cereta: The Turtle, whose thought is slow but always kind (Tower 1)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: Can an atheist be a godparent? -- WONDERING IN WISCONSIN

DEAR WONDERING: Yes. Today, the word "godparent" does not always have explicitly religious overtones. A godparent can be anyone the parents trust to take care of their child in the event of the parents' deaths. However, the potential godparents and the child's parents should discuss this in detail before any decision is made about conferring such an honor and responsibility.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: As parents of an adopted child, we were concerned about when we would have "the conversation." Then a neighbor told us about how they would celebrate "Gotcha Day" with their adopted daughter each year.

Gotcha Day is a day to celebrate because it's the day we became a family. We "adopted" their idea and have been doing something special on this day since before our child could even say the word "gotcha."

Early on, she had no idea what we were celebrating; she just knew it was a special day for us. Through the years, she was able to process exactly what it meant at her own pace, which relieved the need to ever have that dreaded conversation. Recently our daughter told us she loves this day more than her actual birthday!

I thought I'd share this with other adoptive parents who worry about when the right time might be to explain to their child that they were prayed for, wanted, loved and adopted. -- BLESSED PARENTS IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR BLESSED PARENTS: I had never heard of anything like this, but I think it's a great concept and certainly worth sharing with my readers. Thank you!
cereta: Amy Pond in space (Amy Pond)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: My parents have been happily married for more than 30 years. While flipping through an old family album recently, I discovered photos from a wedding many years ago that I had never seen before. Turns out, they were from my father's first wedding. That's when I realized his marriage to my mother was his second wedding.

I'd like to learn more about his first marriage, but it's clearly something from my father's past that I can't talk to him about. I also wouldn't want to sour relations with his side of the family by bringing it up with them. What should I do? -- WANTS TO KNOW MORE

DEAR WANTS TO KNOW MORE: The shortest distance between two points is a direct line. How do you know this is "clearly" something your father won't discuss? If his first marriage was a deep dark secret, those photos would not have been kept in an album. The solution to your question would be to tell him you saw them and ask him to tell you about it. He may have learned lessons from his first marriage from which you could benefit.
cereta: (Kinsa)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: My life is boring, repetitive and I am often depressed. I have trouble talking to others, which makes things harder. Every day is the same: Get up, go to a long day of school, come home, do homework, play video games, draw, go to bed.

The weekends aren't much better. My family never does anything, we never go anywhere. I don't have friends (the one I'd consider hanging out with is always busy), and at 15, I can't drive anywhere, get a job or do anything on my own for another year. I have never kissed, dated or even had a crush on anyone (I'm not sure why, it's not like I'm gay or too embarrassed), so I haven't got much to talk about with my peers anyway.

I'm alone. I'm not popular, I'm a complete nerd and I'm afraid to tell others what I enjoy. If I tell anyone I like video games and Dungeons and Dragons, I know I'll be mocked for the next few years of my life.

I'm pretty smart and I do well in school, but I'm not good at much else. My social skills are borderline nonexistent. My entire life is school. I just want some attention, some friends, something to do with my life. I need help, some advice, something, anything! -- BORING LIFE IN WISCONSIN

DEAR BORING LIFE: Having never met you, I can't surmise why you have difficulty interacting with others. However, there is nothing wrong with playing video games unless you substitute them for real-life experiences.

Surely, there are activities at your school that you could join that would give you more contact with your peers -- sports and special interest clubs, such as art, come immediately to mind. If your family belongs to a church, there may be a youth group that would welcome you.

If you need suggestions for finding an activity at school that might be a good "fit," talk to a counselor there. Explain how depressed and isolated you're feeling and ask for help. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

And remember, things will change when you turn 16 and can drive and work.
cereta: Cover of Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots (do princesses wear hiking boots?)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I am the mom of two sons, ages 13 and 14. When I took them for their annual physical last summer, their pediatrician said this would be the last year I would be in the room while he examined my sons.

I don't understand why I should have to leave if my children are OK with my being there. My sons are comfortable with me, and I am an only parent. It seems to me that more and more rights are being taken away from parents. Am I out of line for feeling this way? -- EXAM ROOM OFF-LIMITS

DEAR OFF-LIMITS: Yes, if you trust your sons' doctor, which I hope you do. By ages 13 and 14, your sons are maturing into manhood. As their hormones and bodies change, they may have questions and concerns they would be more comfortable -- and less embarrassed -- talking to a male doctor about than their mother. Privacy in the examination room would give them the chance to do that.

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