DEAR ABBY: My father died three years ago. My parents were both close to his younger brother and his wife. For the past two years, I have suspected that my mother and my uncle have been having an affair. They live in different states and text back and forth. She has left her phone open when she has gone places with us, and the comments back and forth are very sexually oriented.
I became suspicious when my uncle came to visit and they took a trip together and ended up staying overnight somewhere. A couple of months later, my aunt and uncle came to visit, and Mom asked me NOT to say anything about the trip they had taken in front of his wife.
Then Mom started locking her phone, and if she wants to show you something, she holds onto her phone for dear life. She asked me to look on her phone for something recently while she was driving us someplace and she was so worried about her phone, I was afraid she was going to cause an accident because she was trying to watch what I was doing.
The last time my aunt and uncle were here, Mom tried everything she could to get my uncle alone. I tried as hard as I could to not let that happen.
I feel my aunt needs to know what is going on. I’m not sure how to approach this or if I should leave it alone. It really bothers me they think this is OK. My father had an affair once, so Mom should know how this would hurt. What should I do? — WITNESS IN WISCONSIN
DEAR WITNESS: What you should do is take a giant step back. Do not involve yourself in this potential mess and do not be the bearer of bad tidings to your aunt. If you are going to talk to anyone, talk to your mother.
DEAR ABBY: I have been happily married to my husband, “Clyde,” for 14 years, and we have a 12-year-old son. Clyde is the nicest man I have ever met, nice to a point that drives me insane. He invites complete strangers over to our house and acts like it’s normal.
Last week, he brought a homeless 20-something-year-old woman with him when he came home from work. Without my consent, he let her stay over for FOUR DAYS, until I forced her to leave. I couldn’t stand having to cook for and house a woman whose name I didn’t even know! After she left, Clyde got mad and said my actions were “rude” and “disrespectful.” I think it is unsafe for strangers to be allowed in our home, especially with our son around.
Abby, I don’t know what to do. If I can’t find a way to stop my husband’s recklessness, I may have to end our marriage. Please help. — OVERWHELMED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR OVERWHELMED: In most marriages, spouses have enough consideration for each other that they ask first before inviting someone — particularly someone their spouse doesn’t know — into their home. Your “nice” husband seems to have forgotten this.
Your concerns are valid. Because you can’t seem to get through to him that what he is doing is risky, insist on some sessions with a licensed marriage and family therapist. Perhaps that person can get through to him. He may think what he’s doing is admirable, but there are other ways to help homeless individuals.
TO MY READERS: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins at sundown. During this 24-hour period, Jewish people fast, engage in reflection and prayer, and formally repent for any sin that might have been committed during the previous Hebrew year. To all of you who observe: May your fast be an easy, but meaningful, one.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.