Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Misguided Expectations Cause Woman Some Awkward Moments

DEAR ABBY: I don't know what to do about my father. He has recently reunited with his second wife, "Florence," after a three-year separation. During their separation, he would telephone me several times a day and visit our home several times a week. He always complained about Florence and the things she did to him when they were together. I am the only one of his six children in whom he confided.

Abby, now that Dad and Florence are back together, he expects me to forget everything he told me about her and pretend that nothing unpleasant ever happened. He wants us to have a close relationship with her, and he is angry that I don't call or visit them in their home. I have explained that I don't call them because I don't want to speak with his wife.

Abby, I was honest with my dad from the start, but he lied to me for months. He had been seeing Florence for quite some time before they moved back in together.

At the last family get-together, Dad was nice to everyone except my husband and me. He was downright rude to us, and I'm at the point where I don't even want to see him again. My husband feels the same way. Must I force myself to have a relationship with my dad just because he's my father? -- DESPERATE IN ONTARIO, CANADA

DEAR DESPERATE: Estrangement often occurs when a third party knows too much about that which a person would rather forget. Although you were a shoulder to cry on and a willing ear into which he could pour his troubles, you now symbolize an unhappy chapter in your father's life.

Don't write him off quite yet. It's very likely that your dad will be back before long with more tales of woe about Florence. Next time, don't let him isolate you by being his only confidant.