DEAR ABBY: My mom and I have always been close, but since I got married, I have been having a hard time setting boundaries. My parents divorced when I was 12, and Mom went through a string of boyfriends — including an abusive one. She hasn’t dated anyone seriously in the last five years. My father is a pilot. While I was growing up, it was mostly Mom who raised me. It was the two of us against the world, until I met my husband, “Eric.” We started dating four years ago and were married last summer.
Eric knows Mom and I have always considered ourselves to be each other’s best friend. He also knows we have taken many trips together. It’s a tradition Mom was hoping we’d continue after my wedding. She has recently begun discussing a vacation, and Eric wants to tag along. She, however, wants it to be a “just us girls” trip.
I’m not sure how to handle this. Mom and Eric are the most important people in my life. Must I really choose between one or the other? Who comes first? And how do I break the news to whoever comes second? — TORN IN ILLINOIS
DEAR TORN: You are a newlywed, married only a short time. For your mother to expect you to leave your husband and vacation with her at this point is insensitive and unrealistic. When people marry, their spouse is supposed to take precedence. Tell your mother you would love to take girls trips with her in the future, but not during the first year of your marriage.
DEAR ABBY: Can you help to illuminate people on what is proper etiquette after the passing of a loved one? We recently had a death in our family. As we were trying to say our goodbyes and get in touch with immediate family, the word got out.
Within an hour of the passing, the news was all over social media. We barely had time to react, let alone inform all our family members. Many of them learned about it from these posts. Imagine finding out a loved one passed away from a non-family member’s social media posting. It made an already painful situation even more so. People were hurt that they weren’t informed before it was plastered all over the internet.
Could you also point out that if you are the person who made the post from which someone found out about the death of a family member, rather than get defensive and say, “I’m not the only one who posted it!” or, “I wasn’t the first to say something,” just kindly offer your condolences and maybe an apology. — MOURNING IN MICHIGAN
DEAR MOURNING: Please accept my sympathy for your loss. I am sure that feelings are raw because people are hurting, but please realize that because of social media, news travels like wildfire. For a friend to be told and then to post the sad news wouldn’t be unusual these days. However, to head something like that off before it happened, the person who spilled the beans should have asked the friend to keep the news private until all family members were personally informed.
That said, since there were hurt feelings, apologies are in order.
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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