Dear Abby: Obsessed relative says hurtful things about my stepson

This person keeps insisting the teen must be illegitimate and ignores pleas to let it go.

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DEAR ABBY: I am married to a wonderful man who has a teenage son, “Teddy,” from a previous relationship. I have no children of my own. I love them both and have no resentments about or issues with having stepped into the role of stepparent.

My issue is one of my relatives. This person will not stop questioning Teddy’s legitimacy. There was infidelity in the prior relationship, and a DNA test was never done. While it’s true the boy looks mostly like his mother, everyone else can see his resemblance to my husband — except this relative. They constantly harp on how they “just don’t see it,” how Teddy actually looks like a mutual friend, and that I should demand a DNA test or do one on the sly.

I have tried repeatedly to gently and firmly shut this down by stating that I do see the resemblance and that a DNA test at this point would be pointless because Teddy has been his son for over a decade and it will never change, but they still will not stop. I feel like they somehow think they are “helping” by attempting to relieve us of parental duties, but I SIGNED UP to be a stepmother.

I don’t know what this person is thinking or how to get through to them that this is extremely hurtful and damaging and needs to stop. They are starting to be less subtle about it and will say these things when my husband and stepson are in the next room. Help! — SAD STEPMOM IN ILLINOIS

DEAR STEPMOM: Gladly! Warn this toxic relative that if they mention this subject again, they will no longer be welcome in your home. And if the person persists in trying to cause doubt and pain, I URGE you to follow through!

DEAR ABBY: My question concerns my partner’s use of Facebook. He spends much of his time on it. He has it on his desk while he’s working, looks at it first thing in the morning and throughout the day when he’s home on weekends, and for up to 20 minutes before going to bed. I have told him it makes me feel left out and have asked if he can leave it off for a day, but he refuses. He accuses me of “monitoring” him and says it’s not my business and he only does it while not busy with something else. However, he will participate in holiday family dinners or when we are watching a movie two or three times a week.

What do others think or do about their partners spending inordinate amounts of time on FB? He’s very dismissive of me and my feelings in many other ways, but this is so devaluing. Should I pack my bags? — OVER SOCIAL MEDIA

DEAR OVER: Whether your partner is addicted to Facebook (it has happened to others), insensitive or self-centered, I can’t opine. But since you mentioned that he’s dismissive of your feelings in “many other ways” as well and unwilling to change, explain that you need more attention than he’s giving you, and if he cannot compromise, you will be leaving. After that, if nothing changes, act on your ultimatum.

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.

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