DEAR ABBY: I am a 75-year-old man who lives in a gated community. For the last eight months I have been seeing a woman who lives nearby. We are starting to fall in love.
Our problem is her 95-year-old mother, who lives with her. Her mom is pretty healthy and has some money, but she's scared to be left alone. Because of this, my lady and I have difficulty finding private time.
We get out for short periods, but we'd like to go away for a weekend together. If we suggest it, Mom makes a stink and gets nasty with her daughter. We have tried talking with her about it, but she refuses, sulks and won't talk for days.
She's suffering from slight dementia, but gets around OK with a walker. Mom claims she doesn't want or need a "grandma sitter." She wants only her daughter to take care of her and be with her. Any help would be appreciated. -- COURTING TROUBLE IN ARIZONA
DEAR COURTING: If your lady friend wants to have any life of her own, she will have to stiffen her spine and deal with Mama. This includes not allowing her mother's sulking to prevent the two of you from having an occasional weekend together.
She should contact assisted-living facilities in the area and find out if they will accept guests for short stays of only a few days or a week. If the answer is yes, Mama should be offered a choice: Either someone comes to stay with her while you're gone, a friend perhaps, or she will have to stay elsewhere because being alone is not an option.Read more in: Love & Dating | Mental Health | Health & Safety
DEAR ABBY: My brother died earlier this year due to an overdose. His wife and one of my sisters lived with him. They also gave him the drugs that caused his death.
Abby, they are treating Mom, my husband and me like dirt. Mom had no say in the funeral at all. You would think that since she was the mother, the wife would have included her. They have been having parties ever since the funeral and spending the money left and right, while not paying the mortgage on the house.
They have turned my other sister against us, blocked us on social media and cut us off completely. They also turned another part of the family against us. I know it involves drug abuse on the part of all of them. We didn't do anything to them other than bring forth evidence of what they did and confront them.
I have no idea how to trust or to build a relationship with them again if they ever decide to come back into our lives. It's painful to deal with a death, and then more trials on top of that. Any advice? -- BROKENHEARTED IN TAMPA, FLA.
DEAR BROKENHEARTED: I'm sorry for your loss, but please recognize that when relatives are as dysfunctional as yours, it's safer for you, your husband and your mother to move on. And if they do decide to come back into your lives, for the sake of your sanity, run the other way.Read more in: Death | Addiction | Family & Parenting
DEAR ABBY: Are there any letters or topics you won't touch with a 10-foot pole? -- JUST WONDERING
DEAR WONDERING: None come to mind. At one point or another, this column has addressed darn near everything and may have offended almost everyone.Read more in: Miscellaneous
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.