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.