Dear Abby: I recently attended a funeral with my mother’s family. While I was visiting, one of my aunts confided that my mother cheated on my father while they were married. I’m sure my father has no idea about the affair.
My parents’ divorce was extremely ugly. My mother told us many things about our father that I now know are lies — among them, that he had fathered other children, was a pedophile and had hidden bank accounts full of money in other countries. Because of her lies, my siblings idolize our mother and loathe him.
I think I could change their minds if I told them about her affair. I know the man she had the affair with and could prove what I’m saying. I hate hearing my siblings drag Dad’s name through the mud for things he never did, knowing my mother continues to manipulate their emotions and opinions. Should I tell my siblings about her affair?
Dear Open-eyed Daughter: Before I answer your question, ask yourself why your aunt confided that information to you. Were her motives pure, or does she dislike her sister? You say your father has no idea that your mother may have cheated, yet you recognize that their divorce was “extremely ugly.” Could infidelity have had anything to do with it, and if so, whose?
You also stated that your mother has spent years accusing your father of things he never did. The term for that is “parental alienation.” Manipulating children like that is unhealthy because it gives them a skewed vision of what to expect from their own relationships.
You say you can prove what your aunt told you is true. To that I can only ask, HOW? Has it been confirmed by your mother’s supposed lover? If it has been confirmed, I see no reason why you shouldn’t disclose to your siblings what you were told. But unless you are 100 percent certain that it is true, my advice is to keep your mouth shut and let your AUNT be the one who delivers the news.
Dear Abby: I know you have had this happen: You meet a new person (usually a woman), extend your hand to shake hello, only to have your hand pushed aside with “Oh, I’m a hugger,” and you are latched onto by this total stranger.
Shoe on the other foot: Lady approaches me, extends her hand to shake, I push it aside, saying, “I’m a French kisser” — slurrrp, or “I’m a groper” — squeeze. Really, what makes people think everybody wants to be hugged? They may think it’s sweet; I think it is invasive. Hands over hugs any day, please!
Hugless and Happy in Florida
Dear H.A.H.: You make a good point, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why I’m printing your letter. Because this happens to you regularly, you may have to be nimble. Try this: As the huggers hurl themselves forward, take a giant step backward.
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.