Dear Abby: Daughter on the rebound lands in arms of a friend
DEAR ABBY: My 30-year-old daughter and her husband separated three months ago. After three years of marriage and months of counseling, she moved in with my husband and me. We were delighted.
She started spending a lot of time helping a male friend renovate his house and has essentially been living with him since the COVID outbreak. It's clearly more than a friendship. I have been open about my concern that she's rushing into this relationship. I encouraged her to see a counselor on her own, which she is doing.
Tonight she shared that she is excited that he booked a trip for them for late summer. I'm struggling because she is still married, and I feel uncomfortable about her relationship with this new guy. Am I too old-fashioned? — WORRYING MOM IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR MOM: You are not too old-fashioned. You are the concerned mom of a woman who is on the rebound. Could it be she was already having feelings for this man as she was ending her marriage?
I'm glad she listened to you and was willing to seek counseling. You gave her good advice. May I suggest you offer her more? Suggest she talk to a lawyer about how her current arrangement might affect a divorce if she and her husband choose to go through with one. That she is essentially living with someone could be construed as having abandoned her husband, and it might prevent an amicable settlement.
DEAR ABBY: How can I converse with my parents who cannot and will not keep their political opinions to themselves? They literally cannot have a conversation of more than a few minutes that doesn't spiral into a litany of complaints about the government. I end every conversation angry, either at myself for not speaking up or at them for not shutting up.
It does no good to ask them not to discuss politics. They say they'll discuss what they want in their own home or remind me that — when I was the one who initiated the call — I'm the one who can end it if I don't like what I'm hearing. Heaven forbid anyone disagree with their opinions. They have cut off family and friends for decades over differences of opinion.
I suggested they volunteer in their political community in hopes of redirecting their obsessions into something positive, but they refuse. I'm at a loss. I no longer hope for a relationship with them. I need tips on how to speak to them with grace. — TURNED OFF IN TENNESSEE
DEAR TURNED OFF: If what your parents do all day is listen to political talk shows, it may account for their "obsession."
When you call them, keep a list close by of things you want to tell them. Ask if they need anything you can provide, how they are doing healthwise, how they are managing with the social disruption that has taken place. Tell them how you are, what you have been doing and what you might have heard about family members or friends they know. Then, if the conversation veers into a political polemic, do as they have suggested. Make an excuse to end the conversation before it turns ugly.
DEAR ABBY: Is it appropriate to eat off a commemorative plate? — WONDERING IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR WONDERING: If the plate can be washed without damaging it, it's fine, unless it's a Dear Abby commemorative plate, of course, in which case it should be treated with the same veneration one would treat a religious relic.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.