DEAR ABBY: I am happily divorced after nearly 20 years of marriage to a narcissist. My ex cheated throughout our marriage, lied repeatedly and was abusive. He left me for another woman.
I realize now that he did me a favor by leaving. When he left, I didn’t correct any of the lies he told his family, girlfriends, friends and acquaintances because I just wanted him out of my life. My issue is, he is still lying to everyone about how our marriage ended.
He rarely visits our son, and he complains about having to pay child support and alimony. I have asked him to leave me alone and not speak to me unless it’s about our son, but he won’t. I have warned him if he doesn’t stop bothering me I’m going to tell his girlfriend, family and friends the truth about everything. Should I tell them or just let it go? — BURDENED BY HIM IN FLORIDA
DEAR BURDENED: I think you should finally tell the whole truth to whoever will listen, which is what you should have done in the first place. If you have proof, reveal it. Because you waited, you may be less credible than you would have been then, so be prepared.
You should also talk with a lawyer about the fact that your ex won’t leave you alone and keeps bothering you, because it could be considered malicious mischief or harassment, and there are laws against it.
DEAR ABBY: I have several friends who think it is OK to interrupt a conversation by shoving a phone in my hands to look at (1) their cute grandchildren, (2) the casserole they made yesterday, (3) how they looked after last week’s tennis match or something equally boring. How can I politely refuse them? — DON’T CARE IN EL PASO, TEXAS
DEAR DON’T CARE: If your conversation is being interrupted by a third party, it would not be rude to ask the person to please wait to show you the photos until you are finished. If, however, the person you are talking with does this, you are stuck. While I agree the behavior is rude, unless you want to risk offending, briefly offer the praise that’s being sought and hand the phone back.
DEAR ABBY: I have two young nieces who are close in age. One of them just announced her plans for an elaborate wedding. The other sent a Christmas card together with her new boyfriend because they are now living together.
Does the niece who is forgoing marriage also forfeit her opportunity to acquire wedding gifts? Or does her card constitute a “coupling announcement” for which a gift card would be appropriate? — PERPLEXED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR PERPLEXED: The niece who is cohabiting sent you a Christmas card, not a “coupling announcement.” Cross your fingers that all goes well for her and the boyfriend, and perhaps -- in a year or two -- you will receive an invitation for their wedding. (If you decide to attend, a gift would be in order at that time.)
TO MY READERS: The eight days of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah begin at sundown. Happy Hanukkah, everyone! A joyous Festival of Lights to all of us!
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.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)