Dear Abby: I fear grieving widow is being used by her mean friend

Vulnerable after losing her husband, she’s spending time with a woman known for her cruelty.

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DEAR ABBY: I have a longtime friend, “Eve,” whose husband just died at 55. She is, of course, devastated. To combat her grief and loneliness, she’s going out every day or night with dozens of girlfriends. This is good because she’s doing all kinds of new sports and activities and filling her time with interesting people and events.

The problem is, she has developed a close relationship with “Anne.” Anne did some unbelievably mean, cruel things to me (and others) when she hired me for a short job, and I saw how Machiavellian she really is. I know Eve will one day have a party or some other gathering and invite the two of us with others. I cannot bear to see Anne ever again.

I don’t want to tell Eve about my terrible encounters with Anne. But I’m certain she is vulnerable right now in her profound grief, and I’m also certain Anne is using her. Without going into more detail, what would you do? — CORNERED IN COLORADO

DEAR CORNERED: I would tell Eve about my unpleasant experience with Anne. I would also mention my concern that she is emotionally vulnerable right now, and that in your experience, Anne was extremely manipulative, and she should watch her back. If she asks for specifics, I would give her chapter and verse. In the event that you are subsequently invited to a gathering where Anne will be present, give your regrets.

DEAR ABBY: My son is in a relationship with “Cheryl.” They live together. Cheryl has a daughter and is demanding that I treat the girl as one of my granddaughters. I have bought birthday presents, Christmas gifts and generally spend the same amount on all the kids. But I have been told that Cheryl doesn’t like what I buy her daughter and tosses the clothes at one of my other granddaughters who lives there and says, “Here! YOU take it. It’s ugly!”

I know she talks bad about me to my son, and so does her mother. Interestingly, Cheryl’s mother doesn’t have to buy anything for my granddaughters on their birthdays or Christmas. I’m frustrated because I’m not allowed to have my granddaughters spend the night with me without being told that I must include her daughter. My granddaughters prefer it’d be just them and me.

Am I wrong in feeling that I shouldn’t have to take Cheryl’s daughter every time my granddaughters want to spend the night with me? — GRANDKID DILEMMA

DEAR DILEMMA: No, you are not wrong. Is Cheryl’s mother also being blackmailed into hosting your granddaughters every time her grandchild stays the night with her? If the answer is no, the same should be true for you.

It’s time for a serious private discussion with your son, because it doesn’t seem right that he and his girlfriend have an automatic date night every time his daughters want to spend some quality time with Granny. It would be more equitable if you took Cheryl’s daughter PART of the time instead of every time.

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.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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