DEAR ABBY: My mother passed away last year, and my whole world has been rocked. To make it worse, my father has been acting like a little boy. Soon after Mom's death, he met a woman. Since then, he has not included me and my siblings in any decisions regarding Mom's belongings -- including expensive and sentimental things that have been in our family for years.
When we ask Dad about the items, he says, "They're mine now," or, "You have nothing to do with them." Mom prided herself on these antiques that have stayed in the family. We would like to pass them on to our children and their cousins, but Dad has been selling them and using the money to pay for his lifestyle.
Am I wrong for feeling that Dad is acting like a spoiled brat? Talking to him is useless. He responds like a kid at the playground whose friends won't play the way he likes. -- LET DOWN BY DAD IN N.Y.
DEAR LET DOWN: Although it may not seem like it, your mother's death may have rocked your father's world, too. It is regrettable that the "mechanism" he has chosen to help him through the grieving process is so expensive he must sell family assets to afford her. However, unless your mother left a will specifying what items she wanted you and your siblings to have, then they are legally your father's to dispose of as he wishes. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy.
DEAR ABBY: I've been single for a year and a half, and have four children. After 14 miserable years, I finally left their father. He abused me in many ways, which is the reason I left.
He is now in a relationship -- and I want him back. Is this normal? I thought I left for all the right reasons, and I never expected to feel this way. I can't understand why my feelings for him are starting to resurface. I thought that part of my life was over.
Is it because I'm alone? Is it because he has someone else? Am I jealous? Please give me some insight. I'm ... DAZED IN ARIZONA
DEAR DAZED: The feelings you are experiencing are normal and are probably a combination of each of the reasons you mentioned. You have the responsibility of raising your four children, and you probably envision you and your ex floating off on a pink cloud to a happy ending. Well, grab the smelling salts because it isn't going to happen.
By leaving your husband and removing the children from that toxic environment, you took a giant step toward a healthy future for all of you. Your husband is an abuser. What he did to you he will do to his new lady friend sooner or later. So be glad you got out, and don't look back. Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. If you do it, you'll be frozen in place, too.
DEAR ABBY: Will you please settle a dispute between my best friend and me? If you are attending a non-military wedding, should your male escort wear his military uniform? My friend says it's an honor to be in the service, and it's perfectly acceptable for a guest to wear a uniform to the wedding. -- DEBBIE IN BALTIMORE
DEAR DEBBIE: Wearing a military uniform to a wedding is "perfectly acceptable," but it would be wise to first ask the bride how she feels about it. She may object because there have been instances in which the serviceperson cut such a dashing figure in his uniform that he (almost) overshadowed the bride.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)