Dear Abby: Without asking, Dad gives away keyboard Mom liked playing

Daughter considers buying her another one but fears it would put her mother in an awkward position.

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DEAR ABBY: My mother, who is 85, lives under the domination of my 88-year-old father. After retirement, Dad has remained active and has taken up hobbies that fill the entire house. Mom was an award-winning photographer, but medical issues now prevent her from enjoying that activity the way she used to. She has always enjoyed music and had a keyboard she felt comfortable playing, but only when Dad was away. My father tends to be very critical, which is why I think she would only play in private.

Recently, thinking Mom no longer used it, my dad donated her keyboard. He said it was taking up space. Mom recently confided to me that she was devastated when it happened. I would like to purchase another keyboard for Mom for her birthday, but I don’t want her to feel betrayed. I’m not sure if I should talk with Dad about it beforehand. He is sure to ask Mom why she wasn’t more vocal about her feelings in the first place, thus putting her in an uncomfortable position. Do you have any suggestions? — LOVING DAUGHTER IN WASHINGTON

DEAR DAUGHTER: Have a chat with dear old Dad. Tell him what you plan to do and why. If he expresses puzzlement about why you’re doing it, point out that between the two of them his is the dominant personality, which may be why your mother didn’t speak up on her own behalf. While you’re at it, suggest that the next time he has the urge to dispose of your mother’s property, he should first ask how she feels about it. It may be a wake-up call he needs.

DEAR ABBY: I was in a relationship (nine months) up until about a month ago. Without going into a lot of detail, the guy I was seeing ghosted me without any warning. We had a great conversation on a Thursday night, and Friday morning he blocked my calls, email, etc. I have no idea what happened.

The night before, I accidentally FaceTimed him (my phone was in my pocket), and his son answered. I thought he had called me, but apparently, I called him. Keep in mind I had never met his son the entire time we were together. This isn’t the first time he has stopped speaking to me for reasons only he knows, but this is the first time he has gone this far.

I’m trying to move past it, but I’m having a hard time. Even though we dated for only nine months, I talked to him about everything, and we had such great times together. I want to understand why he did what he did to get some closure, but I don’t know what to do. Do I need to just let this go? — GHOSTED AGAIN IN ALABAMA

DEAR GHOSTED AGAIN: Your ex may have been upset because, until your FaceTime call, his son didn’t know he was seeing anyone. I’m not a mind reader, and neither are you. You stated that this isn’t the first time he has clammed up and given you the silent treatment. A relationship based on such immaturity and poor communication skills would not be healthy for you anyway. Stanch your bleeding and move on. You have my sympathy.

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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