Dear Abby: Woman’s parents stew over May-December romance

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My husband and I have a 22-year-old daughter, “Cara,” who is having a relationship with a 65-year-old man, “Gary.” We do not approve of the relationship.

Gary is going through a divorce, and Cara has moved into his rented condo with him. She just graduated from college. She doesn’t have a job, has no money and drives an old car. She was always a good student and never did anything wrong. She didn’t date much and was a wonderful child. She and Gary have been together for almost six months now.

Cara knows we love her but do not approve of the relationship. She also knows that Gary is not welcome in our home. She sees nothing wrong with their relationship. She doesn’t socialize with her friends as often as she used to. Gary works full-time and also has a job on weekends. We never speak of him when we talk to our daughter. What is going on? What should we do? When will it end? Where is her head?

— Nervous in New England

Dear Nervous: Your daughter — who didn’t date much — thinks she’s in love with Gary. Because she is emotionally involved, she’s thinking with her heart, not her head. What you need to do is loosen up.

Tell your daughter you and your husband will welcome Gary into your home. And when that happens, get to know him and talk with him about the importance of her getting a job in the field for which she has worked so hard to qualify.

Their relationship will end when she finally tires of living with someone who is old enough to be her grandfather, and who has little time to devote to her because he has financial obligations toward his almost-ex-wife. Cross your fingers and hope she grows impatient soon.

Dear Abby: At my preschooler’s concert, another parent asked me to hold a seat for her near the front. I draped a sweater over two seats. Shortly after, another family arrived, and the grandfather of another child removed the sweater, claiming the seats for members of his family who were also absent.

Three times I tried to explain that I was holding a seat for a parent with a disability who was having a hard time getting to the auditorium. Each time I was rudely interrupted. The man grabbed me by the shoulder, threatened me and even invited me to settle things outside. He later photographed my wife and children.

Not wanting to be that parent who gets into a fight over a seat at a children’s event, I backed down. Afterward, though, I did file a report with the police. Now I am deciding whether to press charges.

I don’t want to overreact, but I have heard from other parents that this man has a tendency to bully. I have always been bothered by stories about violence at kids’ events and feel this man crossed a line. Should I?

—Provoked in the East

Dear Provoked: If this man behaved as you described and put his hands on you, then you were physically assaulted. If there were other parents who witnessed it and would be willing to testify if you press charges, go ahead and pursue it. When you do, the bully will be in the system the next time he does it to someone.

Contact Dear Abby at