DEAR ABBY: After 19 years of marriage, my mother divorced my father to be with my stepfather. They have been together for 40 years now. The problem is, Mom can't go more than three days without talking about my father or his family. It's like my stepsiblings grew up with a "ghost" stepdad because of the constant stories.
I have tried dropping subtle hints to my mother, such as, "That was 48 years ago. Why are you still holding onto that?" Nothing stops her. She even talks about him to people she's just met. How can I get her to let go of the man SHE left, and understand that this must be an ongoing jab to her current husband's self-esteem? -- EMBARRASSED FOR MY STEPDAD
DEAR EMBARRASSED: That your mother feels compelled to do this even with strangers is peculiar, but neither you nor I can change her behavior. Unless you know for a fact that your stepfather has asked her not to do it, do not be embarrassed for him. His self-esteem may be strong enough that what she's saying doesn't bother him. Frankly, what she's doing is far more a reflection on her than upon him.Read more in: Marriage & Divorce
DEAR ABBY: I am a 45-year-old man. When I was in high school, I couldn't get a date. I'm not unattractive, and I wasn't even back then. But I was somewhat of a social outcast.
In recent years I have reconnected with several people I went to school with, and returned to my hometown for a short visit to show my kids where I grew up. Abby, I was overwhelmed with attention from women who wouldn't give me the time of day 25 years ago. I admit I like the change, but I'm uncomfortable that there has been such a dramatic shift in their view of me.
I'm not rich. I have a stable job, but haven't done much with my life other than leave the small rural town I was raised in. Now I am constantly contacted by women who used to never look in my direction, asking me if it's possible to become romantically involved.
Is this a case of the one that got away? Or is it a case of the grass is greener somewhere else, and I found a way to jump the fence? -- CONFOUNDED IN ALABAMA
DEAR CONFOUNDED: Perhaps neither. As people mature, their values usually mature along with them. Or, like fine wine, you may have improved with age.Read more in: Love & Dating | Work & School
DEAR ABBY: Would you kindly inform your readers that there is nothing wrong with being the first person to go through a buffet line or be seated at the dinner table when dinner is called?
A hostess (or host) works hard to prepare a meal in a timely manner, and it seems impolite, almost rude, for guests to shuffle around waiting for someone else to go first. I'm pretty sure the hosts don't want to see their perfectly good meal sit on the table getting cold. There is no reward for going last, because the only thing that results from it is a frustrated host or hostess. -- EARLY BIRD IN OHIO
DEAR EARLY BIRD: At a dinner party in a private home, it is rude to ignore a host's request to be seated. For anyone who doesn't want to be the first at a buffet, the solution would be to say to your companions, "I don't know about you, but I'm hungry. How about us getting in line?" It's better than having them listen to your stomach growl. But watch out for the stampede.Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics
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