DEAR ABBY: My father is having an affair -- another one. It is not the first time I have found evidence of it. I was using his computer to work on my grandmother's memorial and an IM popped up from a woman telling him to meet her at a family event my mother was not supposed to attend. Her message to Dad was extremely sexual and very upsetting.
The "other woman" is an old high school friend of my parents' and a friend of the family. I have confronted my father in the past, even threatened to end my relationship with him if it didn't stop.
My heart breaks for Mama, but she loves Dad so much she will stand by him through anything. Somehow, I always manage to get stuck in the middle of their marital problems, and I was even blamed for their separation five years ago.
This has affected my relationship with my boyfriend because I have extreme trust issues. I find myself hating my father more and more each day. Please help me before I lose my sanity. -- DAUGHTER OF A CHEATER
DEAR DAUGHTER: For your own emotional well-being you must remove yourself from the drama and dysfunction in your parents' marriage. You cannot fix what's wrong with it; your father doesn't want to and your mother appears to have made peace -- if you can call it that -- with his infidelities.
Not all men are like your father. Many men respect women and are capable of having loving, monogamous marriages. You need professional help, and with good reason, and I urge you to get it. If you don't, your hatred of your father may color the way you regard all men, and it will always be a problem.
DEAR ABBY: We have some longtime friends, the "Gotrocks," who frequently come over for dinner. When they do, they bring "house gifts" -- commercially made cakes, Danish, etc. that are well past their expiration dates -- then brag about how much they saved on the food.
My wife and I limit our intake of sugar, high-fat and processed foods, and the Gotrocks are aware of it because we have told them, but they persist. I am offended that they would offer low-quality food that I wouldn't serve an animal.
What should I do? Accept the garbage gracefully, not serve it and deep-six it after they leave, or tell them to stop bringing it?
Incidentally, money isn't an issue here; they proudly admit they are cheap. -- OFFENDED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR OFFENDED: Having been put on notice that you and your wife do not consume sugary, high-fat and processed foods, the Gotrocks already know they are bringing an inappropriate house gift. Here's how I'd handle it: The next time they come, make a point of serving their gift to them for dessert -- while you and your wife enjoy a healthy portion of fresh fruit. If they enjoy it -- fine. If they look askance, you will have made your point. Waste not, want not.
DEAR ABBY: How do you respond to an overweight person who says she's fat? Or a short person who says she's short? Or to anyone else who points out a true physical flaw that goes against today's ridiculous standard of beauty? I am in a sorority and this happens all the time.
Please don't tell me to say that their personalities are beautiful -- even if it's true -- because what these girls want to hear is that they are physically beautiful. -- THE UGLY TRUTH FAIRY
DEAR UGLY TRUTH FAIRY: Don't lie. But if you're socially adept, you'll find something nice to say -- unless you want to be as welcome as a skunk at a picnic. The girl with the weight problem may have beautiful skin or a fabulous head of hair. And the short girl may have such beautiful posture that people regard her as graceful. Get it?
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.)