Dear Abby, Mama takes the side of the son-in-law in the daughter’s custody battle
DEAR ABBY: I got divorced a year ago. There were many court appearances before it became final. My husband told my mom we were getting a divorce because I was unfaithful to which is true. What he didn’t say was that I felt neglected, abandoned, and unwanted, all he knew because I’d discussed it with him and he was ignoring me.
Either way, she’s MY MOTHER, not his, and she has shown up with him on a couple of court dates to vouch for his custody of our children! I was sad, ashamed, and angry. It happened without warning. Mother and I hadn’t broken off contact. In fact, she had recently spent a week in our house with me and our children.
Our relationship has never been great, but it’s over now. It’s been a year since we last spoke and I feel no regrets, no sadness, no regrets, just anger that she turned on her own daughter. No matter what I’ve done, I’m their child. As a mother, I would never betray my children no matter what they did. Incidentally, I have been given full physical and legal custody of both. Is there something wrong with me because I don’t feel sad or miss myself and am so angry after a whole year? – NUMBER IN NEW JERSEY
LOVE NUMBER: Wrong? In your words, your relationship with your mother had never been great. That she appeared in court as a surprise witness for your husband must have been a terrible shock. I take it your mother didn’t try to apologize for what she did. If that’s true, then your justified anger is fine unless it eats you up and affects your quality of life. If so, speaking with a licensed psychotherapist will help you improve your thinking.
DEAR ABBY: In 2014 my family found out that my father was having an affair. He had been with his wife for 24 years. We all bit our tongues when he moved in “Jasmine” and then moved her family into their little one bedroom house.
He has started smoking again and has lost a lot of weight since dealing with Jasmine. We hardly see or speak to him these days. Everything he does has to be approved by her. We know he’s not happy, but he won’t admit it to either of us. (We heard about it from a couple of his close friends.)
My wedding is in 2021. I’m afraid Jasmine will somehow prevent him from leaving. How can we all approach this issue with him without upsetting him? If he’s not there to show me down the aisle, it will be a sad day. – LOST IN COLORADO
DEAR LOST: I don’t think you (all) should bring up your father about it at this point. Instead, try to befriend Jasmine so you can keep a closer eye on him and his health. If you can do that, she’s less likely to prevent your dad from leading you down the aisle. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed and hope that your father comes to his senses and finds the courage to remove the woman and her family from his home and from your life.
Wife is ashamed because her husband insists on wearing tights
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in our early 50s and have been married for nine years. I hate to say that but the way he dresses makes me cry and it damages our relationship.
Is it acceptable for a man to wear tights and nothing else? I’m not talking about yoga pants; I mean ballerina dancer, sheer tights that leave NOTHING to the imagination. He mostly wears them in our garage (where people driving by can see them) but lately I’ve caught him standing with neighbors like that. Am I overreacting by telling him he can’t wear things like this outside of the home? If it’s not the tights, it’s skin-tight biker shorts or shorts made from a mesh material that show EVERYTHING when there’s a light source behind them.
We checked this almost every day. He promises he’ll stop, but it’s only a matter of hours before he’s back in costume. Is it okay to wear things like that now? I don’t see women wearing tights that look as good as his. I’ve got to the point where I want to collect all offensive clothing and go to the dumpster. If you say let him wear what he wants, I will and I will keep my eyes and mouth closed. – MORTIFIED IN CALIFORNIA
LOVE MORTIFIED: Your husband appears to be an exhibitionist who cannot control his urges. To be honest, I’m surprised the neighbors didn’t complain after seeing him in those clothes. Normally I would advise letting your husband wear what he wants, but in such a case it may be wise to check the indecent exposure ordinances in your community.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a woman in my 40s and have been with my husband for almost 20 years. I never wanted children. I’m 100% sure of that and have been since I was a child. In fact, I had my tubes tied when I turned 30.
For me, the no-children rule is non-negotiable. My husband knew this was going into our marriage and agreed to it, but in recent years he has expressed an increasing desire for a child.
He has now made up his mind to shame me and say things as if he were depressed, that he will never be happy “if I don’t give him what he wants” or that I would “if I really love him “. He always apologizes later and says he loves me and wants things to work out. But, Abby, what he said is getting harder and harder to shake in the heat of the moment.
I cannot compromise here. I know that putting a child in the mix would only make things worse and encourage resentment everywhere – toward my husband, the unwanted child, and myself – which wouldn’t be fair to anyone. It seems we have reached a dead end. I want this marriage because there are wonderful times too, but I can’t be hurt any longer. I do not know what to do. – Broken in Michigan
DEAR BROKEN: You and your husband have indeed reached a dead end. Although he initially agreed that your marriage would be one without children, he is now facing his biological imperative and can no longer live with the deal he made.
Because you don’t want children, and because of his age, if he needs them, he may have to do it with someone else. I am sorry if this seems brutal, but in a situation like yours there is no compromise. Please accept my sympathy.
Dear Abby was 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 PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.