DEAR ABBY: I am fluent in French and English. I want my daughter, "Chantal," to speak both languages. I am in a relationship with a man ("Clark") who has three children who live with him full time. I am wondering if speaking French to Chantal in front of Clark and his children is rude. My daughter's first language is French, and I have always conversed with her in French.
This has been a point of contention for some time now. I have asked Clark to make an effort to learn French, but he has no desire to, nor do his children.
There is a "closeness" factor, I believe, in sharing my mother tongue (my mother is French, my father American) with my daughter, and I would like to carry it down the generations. Clark says I can talk to Chantal in French when we're alone, but that wouldn't be often. What do you think? Is this worth ending the relationship? -- FRANCO-FILLE IN THE U.S.A.
DEAR FILLE: It's interesting that you have framed your question in black-and-white. Surely your daughter can remain fluent in French without excluding Clark and his children from your conversations. If you love him and care about his children's feelings, you can enroll your daughter in French language and literature classes, and send her to visit her French-speaking grandmother, and -- if it's affordable -- take her someplace where French is the dominant language for a vacation. (If Clark and his children went along, it might inspire them to learn.) This, in addition to spending one-on-one time with your daughter, would keep her French from getting rusty, without sacrificing a relationship with someone you care about.
P.S. Even if you end the relationship, there is no guarantee that your daughter would continue to pass her French along to her own children.
DEAR ABBY: My ex-wife, "Misty," is now dating my father (who is still married to my mom, but separated). Mom blames me. She says it's all my fault because I brought Misty into the family. We have two kids. What can I do to get past all the hurt and pain? I'm depressed all the time, and it has reached the point that it is affecting my work and everyone around me. Please help. -- DESTROYED IN KENTUCKY
DEAR DESTROYED: Two selfish people decided their passions could not be denied, and innocent bystanders -- in this case you and your mother -- have been devastated. Your father's misbehavior and your wife's was not your fault. Your mother blames you because she is unable to project her anger where it really belongs, which is on your father.
Both you and your mom could use counseling to work through this soap opera. Please take my advice and waste no time in seeking a referral -- perhaps to a therapist with two couches, since you and your mother are suffering from the same problem.
DEAR ABBY: A young woman I know is dealing with the death of her twin sister, the result of a tragic accident. Although she continues to "work through" her grief with her family and other siblings, she would like to be able to talk to another surviving twin for help in coping with her pain.
Is there a support group for twins who have lost their twin? Any information would be appreciated. -- WANTS TO HELP IN OHIO
DEAR WANTS: Have I got a group for her! It's Twinless Twins Support Group International. Founded in 1985, it offers support for twins who have lost their twin (or other multiple), as well as information and referrals, phone support, conferences and more. Your grieving friend can contact the group by writing: Twinless Twins Support Group, P.O. Box 980481, Ypsilanti, MI 48198-0481, or visit the Web site, www.twinlesstwins.org.
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