DEAR ABBY: I'm having a problem with the older sister of my daughter's best friend. I'll refer to the girl as "Cassie." Cassie is 16 or 17, and she's attracted to my significant other of 19 years, "Adam," who is 42.
Adam and I are friendly with Cassie's parents. We socialize with them at school sporting events, as well as at-home get-togethers.
Over the past year, Cassie has started coming up to me and asking, "Where's Adam?" Then she will run and jump into his arms, wrapping her legs around his waist as she says "Hi." Adam said she sometimes smacks him on the behind. She also stands directly in front of him and says things like, "Doesn't my butt look good?"
We have discussed this as a family, and have indicated to our daughter that we would never tolerate the same actions on her part. She agrees and expresses disgust. I have also pointed out to Adam that this would not sit well with him if, in two years, his daughter began exhibiting the same behavior with a friend's father -- or anyone else, for that matter.
How do we handle this without our friends becoming insulted? We suspect they think Cassie's behavior is "cute." -- DISGUSTED IN DECATUR, ILL.
DEAR DISGUSTED: Cassie's behavior is extremely inappropriate. You have described a young woman who has never learned boundaries. Could she have emotional problems?
If it happens again, Adam should tell her in plain English that she's too big and too heavy, and he doesn't like it. If she touches him inappropriately, he should tell her to stop because it is "disrespectful." As the adult, it's up to him to apply the brakes.
As to her questions about her posterior, it boggles my mind that Adam would actually respond to them, so he should continue to ignore them. It may also be necessary to stop socializing with the parents.
P.S. One way to approach the parents might be for Adam to call Cassie's father and ask what kind of insurance they have, in case his back goes out the next time their daughter jumps on him!
DEAR ABBY: My husband's stepmother loves to buy me clothes, but the clothes are -- shall I say tactfully -- not my taste. She also buys my husband and me underwear, which makes me extremely uncomfortable.
Usually I gracefully accept her gifts, then donate them to charity. I feel guilty that she spends time shopping and buying items that she thinks I would like. But honestly, I find them unattractive and inappropriate. Recently, she insulted me by buying me clothes that were several sizes too large. I'm sure she selected them out of ignorance, not malice, but the implication that she thinks I'm much larger than I am makes me angry.
Should I say something to her about the incorrect sizes? And how can I steer her away from buying these unsuitable gifts? -- ILL-FITTING IN HIGHLAND VILLAGE, TEXAS
DEAR ILL-FITTING: Has it occurred to you that your well-meaning but misguided mother-in-law may love you like the daughter she always wanted, and that's why she's buying you clothes? Or, she may have too much time on her hands and spends her time shopping.
To refuse her gifts would be rude, but a better solution might be to suggest that you go shopping together. That way, at least you'd have something you might enjoy.
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