Dear Abby: I was married for more than 40 years. My ex constantly badmouths me to everyone. He got to our grown daughter early during our separation, and it’s clear to me she has sided with him. He’s a very intelligent narcissist who manipulates people and they’re not even aware of it. Our divorce took three different lawyers and cost me thousands, which was his intention. Should I open up to my daughter and try to get her to understand why I can’t be around him? I don’t want to alienate my only child.
—Free But Not Totally Happy
Dear Free: If you were married to your husband for 40 years, your daughter is no longer a child. Do not attempt to diminish her opinion of her father — simply explain why you could no longer stay married to him. If you can discuss your divorce with her and point out specific examples she may have noticed in her youth that led to your divorce, I see no reason why you shouldn’t.
Dear Abby: My daughter and I are both immunocompromised. I have cancer; she has asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Our doctors have advised us to not gather with crowds. We didn’t attend my nieces’ wedding or her baby shower because nobody was masked and everyone was together. Now it seems like we have been forgotten.
We were not invited to recent holiday celebrations. My sister-in-law always sent group invites to these events, but we haven’t received any. They haven’t even asked us how we are. We are still not able to attend, but we would like to think we are still welcome. Am I justified in feeling this way?
—Excluded in California
Dear Excluded: For the time being, you must accept that you won’t be able to mingle with large groups. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t meet with small groups. To be less at risk, consider hosting some small get-togethers with vaccinated friends and relatives, and you may not feel so isolated. But please do not blame folks who know your circumstances, and whose invitations you have refused, for removing you from their guest lists for now.
Dear Abby: My crush is in love with this girl. I love him, and this girl isn’t right for him. I mean, she’s the jealous type and totally possessive. She’s telling me she’s his “owner,” and that after they get married, his body and everything about him is hers. I’m saying no matter what she says, he will never be hers.
You can’t own a person, and you really shouldn’t be with someone who’s possessive because it means they’re insecure, and it’s not healthy for a relationship. She basically tried to make me jealous. I love him so much. I want him to be happy, but I don’t think it should be with her. I need some advice.
—Crushing in Georgia
Dear Crushing: You are entitled to your opinion, but as you stated, this guy is in love with her, not you. She may act possessive because she knows you want him, so she’s trying to establish boundaries. If she is really as insecure as you think, there will come a point after which he may begin to feel smothered. That may be when you’ll finally get your chance. For now, back off and sweeten up.
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.