DEAR ABBY: I was married nine months ago to a man I love dearly. It has been an adjustment for all of us, and at times it has been stressful. We have been working on some issues, but for the most part we're doing well. I have a 12-year-old daughter I'll call "Ginger."
The problem is my new father-in-law, "Grant." He lives alone a few states away from us. We see him only a few times a year. I barely know him. Grant has been asking to take Ginger alone for a weekend at his secluded home. I have a real problem with that. Grant also asked to take Ginger to visit his mother -- an even farther distance. He planned on having my daughter alone with him in a hotel for a week. I said no.
Abby, Grant plans these outings in his head and then gets upset when I say no. I'm not comfortable allowing my innocent child to spend time alone with a man in his 60s whom I don't know very well.
I have invited Grant to our home so he can get to know us both, and he always has an excuse not to come. This is causing a rift between my husband and me. Grant has made my husband feel guilty, and it has caused arguments between the two of us. I want to please my husband, but I don't want to place Ginger in a situation that I am not comfortable with. What should I do? -- WORRIED MOTHER IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR WORRIED MOTHER: Stick to your guns and insist that your father-in-law "get to know" your daughter only in situations that you can supervise. There is a reason why your alarm bells are ringing, and frankly, after reading your letter, they went off in my head, too. Listen to your motherly instinct and do not allow yourself to be manipulated into doing otherwise.
DEAR ABBY: I have a warning for your readers. It is always touching to hear stories of long-lost loves being reunited to then live happily ever after. I had a love like that when I was in high school. He was in the Army in California.
We met again after 41 years, fell in love, and began what seemed like a dream come true. I gave up a great job and proximity to family and friends to relocate to Washington. My dream turned into a financially and emotionally draining nightmare. After a year and a half of marriage that volleyed between cruelty and reassurances of his love, I confirmed my intuition that he had been lying and cheating the whole time.
I had based my trust in him on that sweet history that was decades in the past. I am writing to urge others to be cautious. Do not misplace your trust as I did. -- BETRAYED AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
DEAR BETRAYED: While it's true that many childhood sweethearts successfully rekindle that old flame in later life, it's also true that as people grow older they sometimes change -- and not always for the better. That's why it's important to look carefully before you leap into anything and take nothing for granted.
I'm sorry your happy ending turned out badly and your prince into a toad. Be glad you know the truth and are again in control of your future because -- believe me -- it's not over until you take your last breath.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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