DEAR ABBY: I have a big problem. My mother has a boyfriend who just got out of prison. He was incarcerated for aggravated sexual assault on a child.
Mom is in love with this man. They've been "going together" for nearly a year. Here's the problem: Whenever he comes over to see Mom and he gets me alone -– even for a minute –- he says stuff like, "You're lookin' good today," and tells me my breasts look big and firm. Things like that. He even talks that way when Mother is in the next room. It makes me very uncomfortable.
Sometimes when Mom's back is turned, he winks at me and licks his lips. I've asked him to stop, but he doesn't listen. Now he's at the point where he tries to grab me and slap my behind.
If I tell Mom, I'm afraid she won't believe me because she knows I don't like him.
I am 20. Mom's boyfriend is 40-something. He's always staring at me and telling me to smile. Abby, I can't smile when he's around because he makes me so uncomfortable. What should I do? –- UNSURE AND UNEASY
DEAR UNEASY: Tell your mother exactly what you have told me, and don't put it off any longer for fear she won't believe you. Her boyfriend is a predator, and his behavior is escalating. He's lucky you haven't reported him to his probation officer. The man has a sickness, and your mother can't fix it. Warn her -– and for your personal safety, keep your distance.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 21-year-old mother with a 19-month-old daughter. I recently separated from my abusive husband and now live with my family.
I'm at my wit's end because my daughter screams and cries all day. I don't know how to control her. It seems abnormal for her to act this way. I'm on the verge of a mental breakdown. She demands so much attention I can't even use the bathroom or take a shower alone.
I want to take my daughter to a psychiatrist, but my family would have a fit. It seems everyone has control over me, including my daughter. She acts like I'm a pushover, which I am.
Abby, do you know of any techniques to calm her down and make her listen to me? –- TIRED AND WORRIED IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR TIRED AND WORRIED: You are a mother now. It's time to do what YOU think is right. Take control of your life. Make an appointment today with a pediatrician for an evaluation and ask for a referral to a psychiatrist who specializes in children.
DEAR ABBY: I am 20 years old and in love with a married man I'll call Ben. We work in the same small company. Ben and I were inseparable. We had planned to move in together, but he decided to return to his wife. He said he was sorry, and I should get on with my life.
I see Ben every day. If I don't stop by his desk to talk, he calls me on my extension, acts like I've hurt his feelings, and asks, "Are you mad at me?"
Abby, I don't know what to do. I know he loves me because if he didn't, he would let me get on with my life. –- JILTED IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR JILTED: No, you have it backward. If he loved you, he would not be dragging this out. I hope you realize how fortunate you are to have this self-centered, ego-driven cheater out of your life. Find another job. Get away -- far away -- from this guy, and in the future, avoid men who are married.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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