Dear Abby: Stepdaughters should respect me, not the father who left them

For 18 years, man has been there for the girls — now women — and he’s frustrated that they call someone else their dad.

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DEAR ABBY: I’ve been the stepfather of two girls for 18 years. They are 22 and 24 now. My wife and her ex-husband adopted them at birth. When they were 2 and 4, he had an affair and left them for a woman who had two children.

Why do these two girls look at HIM as their dad when I have been the one who has always been here for them? They have never shown me much respect, yet the man who adopted them and then left them and their mother for another family they regard as their dad and respect him. — HURT AND FRUSTRATED

DEAR HURT: You have my sympathy. This may have happened because their mother never explained to them that the person who left them failed to fulfill the father role he had promised, and the man who raised them — you — IS their dad. She also failed to insist they treat you with the respect you deserved. If there is blame to be laid, I blame her for this, not them.

DEAR ABBY: I am writing regarding my husband’s obituary. He died suddenly a year ago. Because of shock, anxiety and pressure to get his obit into the newspaper before the weekend, I rushed it. I had never written an obituary before. My dear sister-in-law helped me, and we finally finished it at 4 a.m. Since then, I have been unhappy and uncomfortable with it. It wasn’t thorough or personal or loving. It was “just the facts,” and I have always wanted to redo it. I also included some things I regret. What are your thoughts on my revamping and re-submitting another version to the area newspaper his obituary appeared in? — REDO IN THE EAST

DEAR REDO: Please accept my sympathy for your loss. Contact the newspaper and ask that question. I have seen “In Memoriam” items published long after the deceased has been buried. If you feel it would comfort you, it couldn’t hurt to ask.

DEAR ABBY: My sister’s job requires her to make presentations to professional groups. When she used the word “irregardless” in a conversation with me, I told her the correct word is “regardless.” I genuinely did not want her to embarrass herself in a professional setting.

Yesterday, she used the word “irregardless” again when we were talking. Should I correct her again, or let it go? This situation is complicated by the fact that I have asked her to stop constantly correcting me, although her corrections don’t usually involve grammar or word usage. — UNSURE IN FLORIDA

DEAR UNSURE: You told your sister once that the word she used was incorrect. In light of your history with her, if you repeat it, she may think you are trying to one-up her and resent it. (In cases like this, no good deed goes unpunished.)

P.S. Many people make this mistake, so hold a good thought. Perhaps the audience she’s making the presentation to won’t notice.

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.

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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