DEAR ABBY: I was raised in a very strict household. At 19, I left home and never looked back. Today, I am 54, divorced and own my own home.
My mother passed away, and my father moved in with me a few months ago because he didn’t like living alone. I have had to make several adjustments to accommodate him.
The problem is, he’s extremely traditional and refuses to change his way of thinking where I am concerned. In his eyes, I am still his child, and I should respect and abide by his rules.
I have a boyfriend who lives several miles away. When he visits, I would like him to spend the night with me in my room. My dad insists (demands) that my boyfriend sleep on the couch or in the guest bedroom. He has informed me that it is my choice, but if I don’t abide by his wishes (demands), he will refuse to talk with my boyfriend, which undoubtedly will cause stress in my relationship.
I have told my father that I am a grown woman and that I refuse to give up my freedom to accommodate him in this area. After all, this is my home. How should I handle this? — ALL GROWN UP IN ARKANSAS
DEAR ALL GROWN: If you knuckle under to Dear Old Dad’s demands, you are making a big mistake. Sit him down, “remind” him that you are no longer a little girl and that if he cannot accept that you are an adult with needs of your own and be respectful to your boyfriend, he will no longer be welcome to live under your roof. Do not try to placate him or you will be living the rest of your father’s life in a second childhood, and it won’t be a happy one.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 39-year-old woman, recently separated. I have been seeing a 45-year-old man who is also separated, but not divorced from his wife. We have been a couple for about a year. I don’t understand why he doesn’t get a divorce.
When his wife (who has also been seeing someone for more than a year) found out we were seeing each other, it got ugly. She came to our place of employment (her ex and I work in the same place, different departments) and tried to get me fired. Fortunately, she was unsuccessful, and she tried to get physical. She told me she is his wife — she told him as well — and said she tells him what to do, and she “owns him.” At that point I had to stop seeing him.
After a month apart, I became really depressed, and we hooked back up. We go out and enjoy each other’s company, and the sex is AMAZING. He told me he has never felt like this with any other woman nor has he ever introduced anyone to his daughter (who loves me dearly). We are taking things more slowly and carefully, but I am falling in love.
He tells me he misses me when we are intimate and how grateful he is for me, but it isn’t enough. I want more, but I don’t want to scare him away. Is this a dead end? Should I be patient, or should I just walk away? — IT’S COMPLICATED IN THE EAST
DEAR COMPLICATED: I have to wonder why, after a year, you are not in the process of being divorced. You also need some straight answers about what keeps this man under his wife’s thumb. The woman appears to have serious mental issues. Is the reason financial? Emotional? Once you know, you will have a better idea of what to do.
I am troubled by the fact that your boyfriend’s wife is so volatile. As it stands, that woman is controlling not only him but also you, and that’s not healthy.
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.
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