DEAR ABBY: I am in love with my ex's co-worker (I'll call him Jim). This is dangerous as I live with my ex in the same house, although not in the same quarters. We have both had some trouble distancing ourselves from each other since we decided to break up nearly a year ago.
Jim and I have talked on the phone and communicated by e-mail on a regular basis, and I feel I connect well with him. When we have met in person, my ex has always been there -- and I know that's why Jim isn't taking things further. My ex and Jim have been pals as well as colleagues for many years, and I think Jim fears my ex's annoyance. (Whether he'd be unhappy or not is questionable.)
I have put myself slightly out on a limb in terms of expressing my feelings to Jim, but each time our conversation becomes flirtatious, he cuts it short.
This is very frustrating. I have become so fascinated by him that if we don't go beyond flirting soon, I can see myself making as much of a fool of myself at 25 as I did when I was 15, by doing something stupid or too forward and ruining my chances of a relationship with him. Please help. -- JENNIFER IN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
DEAR JENNIFER: As long as you're living under the same roof as your ex, your romance with his co-worker has gone as far as it's going to go. I salute his good sense. In the interests of all concerned, you must make a clean break with your ex before proceeding seriously with anyone else. One of you should move.
DEAR ABBY: I just finished reading the letter from the mother whose son had died. She wrote that the mourners who attended the funeral ignored the grief and loss felt by her husband, her son's stepfather. It is sad when stepfamily members are tossed aside, especially in times of grief.
My ex-husband raised my two daughters (his stepdaughters) from the ages of 1 and 3 to the ages of 17 and 18. We were divorced in 1987, but the girls kept a father/daughter relationship with their stepfather until his death in 1996. They both had married and had children, and their stepfather was considered a father-in-law and grandfather by all concerned.
When he died, my daughters were not informed of his death, were excluded from his funeral, and his obituary made no mention of them -- although it did mention his current wife's son and grandson (the son was an adult and on his own when they married, and my ex had no part in raising her son).
My daughters had always professed that their biological father was their father, but their stepfather was "Daddy." I cannot understand how someone can be so heartless as to have done this to anyone, let alone my daughters. They were not given the opportunity to say goodbye to their daddy. People should consider the impact of their actions on the innocent parties involved in a family crisis. -- MILLIE IN SPANAWAY, WASH.
DEAR MILLIE: Since I don't know the grieving widow, I don't know whether the omission was deliberate -- an indication of how threatened she was by her husband's closeness to his stepdaughters -- or the fact that she was so devastated by her own grief that she couldn't think beyond it to the pain that was felt by others. Please give her the benefit of the doubt.
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