DEAR ABBY: I am a woman in my mid-30s, recently divorced for the second time. I was married for 13 years.
Abby, my ex won't leave me alone. He calls me constantly, and if I won't talk to him, he starts threatening me. Hanging up on him doesn't work; it makes him that much angrier. He threatens to damage my vehicle, and says he has people watching my daughter when she goes out on the one night that she is allowed.
He will call and tell me where she went, who she was with and what time she came home. He has me watched, too. I don't go out except to work and to the grocery store. Calling the police is not an option because that will just make it even worse on me. Please help me. -- BEING WATCHED, BIRMINGHAM, ALA.
DEAR WATCHED: There is a name for the harassment you and your daughter are receiving. It's called STALKING. Although you may not be aware of it, there is a law against stalking in Alabama. After I read your letter, I contacted your chief of police and read it to her. She advises that you should document every incident -- which can include recording those threatening phone calls -- and file a police report.
I wish you had been more specific about the reason for your reluctance to inform the police. If you are frightened because your ex-husband is somehow connected to law enforcement, this crime should be reported to Internal Affairs so they can investigate the charges. The longer you remain silent, the longer his intimidation will continue.
DEAR ABBY: I married late, to a wonderful man I'll call "Juan." Our courtship was very brief. We are fine. My problem is his family.
Everyone was very cordial at first, but during a brief rough patch early on in our marriage, his family made it clear where the line was drawn -- me on one side, all of them on the other. (I have no immediate family of my own, just a couple of close girlfriends I consider to be "family.") Juan was caught in the middle.
Since then, we have come to an understanding regarding holidays, birthdays, etc. If I work the holiday, Juan spends it with his family. If not, he's home with me for the majority of it, but makes a short visit to them. (We live in the same town.) We split Juan's birthday. If someone from his family phones the house, I'm pleasant, but other than that we don't speak.
My question concerns my elderly mother-in-law. There's a language barrier, and she usually believes what anyone tells her, which early on was unflattering where I was concerned. Due to her advanced age, there will be a funeral I have to contend with at some point. I feel I should be there for Juan when the time comes, but I have absolutely no desire to be around any of the rest of his family. What should I do? -- JUAN'S WIFE
DEAR WIFE: When the time comes, take your cue from your husband. If he would like you to be there, then attend the funeral with him and be pleasant to his family. If he prefers to go alone, you'll be off the hook.
P.S. Between you and me, you should be prepared to go. When a man loses his mother, he usually wants the person closest to him to be near him -- and that should be you.
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