Dear Abby: My son and his wife, “Carole,” have been married for two years. I was recently introduced to her father, “Ted,” who has been alone for 13 years. Carole told me later in no uncertain terms that I cannot have a romantic relationship with her father. Then she repeated the same thing to him.
Do you think it’s right for adult children to dictate to their parents who they can and cannot see? Ted and I are perplexed. We really like each other and would like to see where this relationship could go. We laugh easily together, cook in the kitchen well together, can talk for hours and generally are very compatible.
We have both discussed our pasts and have been honest with each other. What’s your opinion?
– Deserves to Be Happy in Florida
Dear Deserves: Before the relationship goes further, you and Ted should step back and ask yourselves what might happen if this romance doesn’t work out. Would the hurt feelings disrupt the family dynamic? If this can be handled thoughtfully, with grace and maturity, I agree that you deserve to be happy.
While adult offspring may try to dictate what their parents can and cannot do, as mature adults, you do not have to blindly accept it.
Support recovering gambler
Dear Abby: I have been friends with “Kurt” for many years. We met during Little League, and as we got older we stood up in each other’s wedding. He was my best man.
Kurt’s marriage is in trouble because he has a gambling problem. I feel guilty because I never said anything to him about it when we were together at the casino and he was spending more money than he could afford. I was with him only a handful of times, but I still think I should have spoken up. Should I have? Or wouldn’t it have mattered if I did? Kurt is going to Gamblers Anonymous meetings now, trying to save his marriage.
– Guilty in Wisconsin
Dear Guilty: You could have said something to your friend, but the question is, would Kurt have listened and accepted what you were trying to convey? People who have addictions are usually in denial until they have no other choice but to face it.
Your feeling guilty won’t help this situation. Being supportive of your longtime friend and making sure that when you’re together there is no wagering happening (i.e., on sporting events) would be helpful. The rest is up to him.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.