Abby: Visits one-way for sisters refusing to travel
Dear Abby: I have three sisters who won’t come to visit me. I am older and their only brother. We are all in our 50s. We all get along great and have no issues.
Seven years ago, I moved away from our hometown in Pennsylvania and bought houses in vacation towns in Colorado and Arizona. I would never see my sisters if I didn’t make the trip back home. The problem is, I have an injury that makes traveling very difficult.
Over the last seven years, I have gone back twice. I have offered to pay gas or airfare for them if they’ll come visit me, but they always refuse. I have now given up and quit offering.
They are able to travel to see each other on occasion, but not me. I know they enjoy my company as we go jeeping and kayaking, etc. Their kids love me. It’s a shame I may never see them again. What should I do?
Baffled Brother in Phoenix
Dear Brother: I agree it’s a shame their reluctance to come to you may mean that you won’t see them again. I think the time has come to ask your sisters to level with you about why they manage to visit one another, but won’t do the same for you. When you do, “remind” them that although you love them, your health no longer permits you to do all the traveling.
You can’t force them to make the effort, and if they are unwilling after that, you may have to accept that this is the way things are and this is how they will remain.
Dear Abby: My elderly parents are opposites. Dad is a self-absorbed narcissist with no moral compass. Mom is a Christian woman who is loved by many. When they die, Mom will be missed. When Dad goes, we will mostly feel relief.
Would it be acceptable to have a large, lovely funeral for Mom, giving others the chance to pay their final respects, but for Dad, just a small family service?
Dear Planning: Not only would it be acceptable, it would also be practical, since few people pay respects to someone not worthy of it.
Dear Abby: I’ve been married to my husband for 57 years. He has been a good provider and helps me often with errands. However, he has one serious failing. He can’t keep a secret. If I tell him something personal and ask him to keep it private, he invariably tells his friends during coffee dates or phone calls. Can you give me any insight about why he does this? I have decided that from now on I’ll keep anything I don’t want broadcast to myself.
Dear Wife: Not knowing your husband, I can’t guess why he would betray your confidence. But I do think you have arrived at a wise solution to your problem. He can’t shoot off his mouth if he doesn’t have the ammunition.
Dear Abby: I have never had a good relationship with my father. He was extremely abusive and controlling when I was growing up. Regardless, I have tried to maintain a relationship with him — albeit a superficial one — now that I’m an adult.
For the past few years, Dad has been seeing a woman my age. I’ve tried to maintain a relationship with her, as well. The problem is, they are extremely touchy-feely when they’re together, and it makes me very uncomfortable. For example, they’re always rubbing each other, hanging on each other, or she sits on his lap when we’re out for drinks.
I tried to talk to my father about it. He became extremely angry when I asked if they could keep it to a minimum around me. Moreover, they recently let it slip that they started dating before she was 18. I don’t feel comfortable with their relationship at all. Am I wrong to feel this way?
Uncomfortable in The West
Dear Uncomfortable: I don’t think so. Your feelings are your feelings, and you are entitled to them. Because being around your father and this young lady makes you uncomfortable, consider seeing him one-on-one, apart from her, if he can manage to separate from her for a half-hour or an hour.
Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.