DEAR ABBY: My mother is married for the second time. They were married when I was 14. A year later, she discovered he'd had an incestuous relationship with both of his daughters from the age of 5 until the oldest went to college and the second girl was 14 or 15. The relationship with the second daughter ended six months before he married my mom. Mother forgave him, and we all went to counseling.
I'm 29 now, with a 7-year-old daughter. We see them only on holidays. My mother doesn't understand why my daughter can't go to their home without me or my husband. My daughter is asking why she doesn't get to see Grandma or spend the night when Grandma asks. Should I tell her why? Is she old enough to understand? My mother has threatened to take me to court for "grandparent rights." What do I do? -- SUSAN IN LUBBOCK, TEXAS
DEAR SUSAN: Your daughter is old enough to be told the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching, and she should report to you any behavior that makes her "uncomfortable."
Under no circumstances should your little girl spend time at your mother's house without supervision. If your mother threatens to take you to court for "grandparent rights" again, tell her that you will discuss her husband's history of incestuous behavior with the judge. That should be the end of it.
DEAR ABBY: In March, my son was involved in a serious auto accident. "Ruth," my best friend for almost 30 years, went to visit him at my father's house. Dad later told me that while she was there, she badmouthed me, my husband and our other children. She also talked about our finances.
I feel so betrayed by Ruth that I'm not sure I'll ever want anything to do with her again. Abby, Ruth and I had been friends since high school. We shared our most intimate secrets over the years. I would never have discussed her personal business with my family, and I'm hurt that she disclosed mine.
She was the only person other than my husband that I trusted with my innermost feelings. Should I write her off or should I confront her? -- BETRAYED IN INDIANA
DEAR BETRAYED: I hope your son has recovered from his automobile accident.
Before writing off such a long friendship, talk to Ruth and give her a chance to explain. If her reasons for revealing the secrets make sense, give her another chance. However, should you discover a malicious streak in your old friend, say farewell to her.
DEAR ABBY: My 67-year-old husband has taken up with a 45-year-old married woman. We live in a small town, and of course everybody knows about it.
As I see it, I have two options. The first is to maintain the status quo and pretend all is well for the benefit of friends, family, children and grandchildren.
The second option is to sue him for divorce and clean his clock. I have all the evidence I need -- credit card receipts, motel records and eyewitnesses. Perhaps he won't be so darn "charming" without his money.
I could also sue her for "assault on a marriage," which I saw on TV the other evening.
Can you think of any other options? -- TRYING TO DECIDE
DEAR TRYING: Offer your philandering husband the option of healing the marriage. If he refuses to end the affair and join you in marriage counseling, consult a lawyer about your other options.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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