DEAR ABBY: My father is dating a woman who is not only my ex-boyfriend's mother, but also the woman he cheated on my mother with and left her for. I don't want to be around her and have told my father this, but he doesn't accept or respect my feelings. Being around them causes stress on my marriage because my husband doesn't want to be around her either, and we don't want her around our children.
This is causing so much stress that at times I'm afraid it could end our marriage. When I try to talk to Dad about this, he acts like there is no reason for me to be uncomfortable and blames my husband for these feelings. It's like he completely denies that there is any way I could feel the way I do, even though she has brought nothing but negativity into my life.
I don't know what to do. I want to still have a relationship with my dad, but my marriage comes before this. How can I keep both? -- IN THE MIDDLE IN PENSACOLA
DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: Your father refuses to acknowledge your feelings because he sees you only as an extension of himself. Your opinions "surely" must match his own, and if they don't, then they must have been planted there by someone else. In his mind, he and his lady friend have done nothing wrong, so how could you possibly object? That you could have a moral compass that points in a different direction is not on his radar.
Because your dad insists on imposing this woman on your family, recognize that you probably can't have one without the other. That will mean seeing your father far less than you would like, and away from your husband and children -- if at all. Under no circumstances should you allow your father to destroy your marriage as he did his own.
DEAR ABBY: I was wondering if you could help me out with a co-worker who is constantly on her phone. Four, five, sometimes eight times a day she is making and accepting personal calls. It's very distracting to the rest of the office. When she's not at her desk, it's then my responsibility to cover for her.
I would like to find a polite way to say "these phone calls can be made after hours." I do not want to ruffle any feathers. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. -- TOO CHICKEN TO TALK
DEAR TOO CHICKEN: The company's policy on personal calls during business hours should be a part of the employee handbook. If it isn't, it should be brought to the attention of your employer or supervisor so it can be included when the handbook is updated.
Ideally, the person to speak to your co-worker about this would be your boss. Because these calls are distracting the other employees, your boss should be made aware of it so he or she can deal with it.
TO MY JEWISH READERS: Tonight at sundown, Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, begins. It's a day of fasting, reflection, prayer and repentance. To all of you, may your fast be an easy one.
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