Dear Abby: I’m the mom of a 31-year-old daughter who recently broke up with her longtime boyfriend so she can be with a 17-year-old kid. I probably wouldn’t be upset if she didn’t have sons who are 15, 14 and 12 and a daughter, 10, who considered the man she broke up with their dad. Her new love is only two years older than her oldest. I am having a hard time accepting this, and so are my grandkids.
I haven’t talked to my daughter about her choice because I know she’s an adult and the bottom line is it isn’t really my business. I do worry about how much confusion this causes the kids.
I don’t know if I can accept this new “man” in her life. To tell you the truth, I want nothing to do with him. I want to continue seeing my grandchildren, though, which will mean I’ll have to deal with this person on some level. How?
Thrown in New York
Dear Thrown: Here’s how: Be a lady. You have a right to express your opinion privately, but when you see him, be cordial and do not make apparent how much you disapprove of the relationship. If you alienate him, you will lose. The result will be that you see less of him, your daughter will be upset with you and you will see less of your grandkids.
Dear Abby: I’m getting married soon, and I want to invite a colleague I have known for years. My colleague is gay and married. My fiance, “Ted,” is from a large, very traditional family. When I suggested inviting my co-worker and his husband, Ted expressed concern, stating that members of his family might feel alienated and uncomfortable.
I love Ted dearly, and I love his family. But I feel like I will be shutting out a friend by not inviting him and his spouse. Should I explain the situation to my colleague or leave it alone? Is it possible to reach a compromise that will make everyone happy?
Loving Bride in Texas
Dear Bride: I think you should do what makes you happy. The problem with trying to please everyone is that it isn’t possible. Unless you want Ted’s family deciding who your friendships should include in the future, tell Ted this person is your friend and you do not want him and his husband to feel hurt by being excluded. Ted’s family will adjust, which is what gracious guests are supposed to do.
Dear Abby: My son is in his mid-20s, and I would love to spend time with him. The problem is, every time he has come to my home he has stolen things from me and pawned them. I know this to be a fact.
I confronted him about it two years ago. I told him I love him very much but can no longer trust him in my home. He didn’t deny the thefts, but since then, he won’t take my calls or respond on social media or to text messages. What’s a dad to do or not do?
Failing in Florida
Dear Failing: Your son may be ashamed to face you after what he has done. All you can do is continue to reach out, tell him you love him and pray that he finally decides to stop hiding from you and possibly from himself. You have my sympathy, but you cannot force this.
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.