Dear Abby: Retired man seeks out young people for ‘mentoring’

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DEAR ABBY: My husband, who is retired, now prefers to talk exclusively to people under 21. He says he is “mentoring” them, though I haven’t seen any indication of this.

He says he has no interest in talking to people our age, so when we get together with our friends, who are mostly our age, he says practically nothing. When I asked why, he said he prefers to impart his knowledge to younger people. I have suggested that he volunteer with younger people, but he wasn’t interested — he just wants to hang out with them.

I’m not sure what to do. He seems depressed if they don’t respond to him in the way he would like. Mostly they show little interest in being with him.

What, if anything, should I do about this? It has been going on for more than two years now. — CONCERNED IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR CONCERNED: I feel sorry for your husband. He may avoid companions his own age because they remind him that he, too, is getting older.

It’s no wonder young people don’t respond to him. I can imagine few pastimes less appetizing than socializing with someone who “imparts knowledge” by talking down to them. They might find him more appealing if he asked them questions and listened to what they had to say.

Consider talking to him about your concern that he is socially isolating himself from contemporaries, because the longer he continues, the less welcome he will find himself. However, until he comes to that realization and decides to fix it, do not expect anything to change.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are proud parents of two adult daughters. They both graduated from a local university. Our rule was if they were to complete their education locally, they had to continue to live at home.

Now, our goddaughter “Justine” is in community college and planning to transfer to a four-year college next semester. I was told recently that she’s been trying to convince her boyfriend to get a place together.

Justine’s parents would prefer she remain at home, but won’t fight her if she moves in with her boyfriend. I’m pretty sure they’ll continue to fund her education as best they can until she graduates.

We have been contributing financially toward our goddaughter’s education. My husband and I feel that it’s a waste of money just so they can “play house.” She has a good relationship with her family and can come and go as she pleases.

I’m afraid they will run into money issues and use the money we give her to live on instead of for school, which is not OK with me. Plus, I don’t think I should do any different for her than I did for my own children.

I’m afraid if I let her know how I feel, it will strain our relationship — perhaps even the one we have with her parents. Should this be my concern or should I let it go? — HER GODMOTHER

DEAR GODMOTHER: It’s time for an honest conversation with your goddaughter, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you included her parents. Explain that you would be uncomfortable subsidizing her if she lives with her boyfriend because it’s not how you raised your children. You have already contributed generously to her education.

TO MY MUSLIM READERS: It is time for the breaking of the Ramadan fast. Happy Eid al-Fitr. — ABBY

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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