Dear Abby: Dad’s behavior compounds grieving teenager’s loss

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I am a 17-year-old male whose mom passed away six months ago. From the time I was a small child, she was mean to me and never had time for me, but I never wished her dead. She was mean to my dad as well.

Since her passing, Dad has gone crazy about women. He has them over spending the night all the time or he goes and stays at their house. I have talked to him about it, but he says he deserves to be happy. I’m an only child and I’d like for him to be here for me. What can I do? I feel so lonely. I’m too much of an introvert to speak to anyone about this.

— Lonely in the South

Jeanne Phillips

Dear Lonely in the South: Please accept my sympathy for your loss. I am concerned because you are so isolated. While it may not be easy to talk about your feelings, it’s the best way to deal with the pain you are experiencing.

Is there another relative in whom you can confide? The parent of a friend, a trusted teacher or counselor, or a religious adviser? Any of them could offer a willing ear and a soft shoulder. The only thing you should NOT do is keep these feelings bottled up inside because, if you do, they will only grow. I am sorry you are going through this alone. You appear to be more emotionally mature than your dad.

Dear Abby: For the last four or five years I have been receiving holiday cards from an ex-girlfriend of mine. I haven’t had contact with her since meeting my wife. My wife and I have been together for six years, married for two. The cards keep coming and it’s starting to make my wife uncomfortable. How do I respectfully tell my ex to quit sending them? I don’t have anything in common with this person other than that we used to be boyfriend and girlfriend back in high school.

— Married Now in Massachusetts

Dear Married: This old flame may be simply trying to be friends, and not intend to pose a threat to your marriage. A way to discourage her might be to send her holiday greetings from you AND YOUR WIFE with a picture of the two of you, your kids if you have any, pets, etc. If you don’t send Christmas greetings, perhaps a snapshot of you and your wife on vacation would suffice — or a wedding picture may get the message across.

Dear Abby: I work in a small office. We are allowing people to come in for meetings, to drop off information, etc. and we have asked that people wear a mask if they come in. I don’t wear mine when I am at my desk alone; however, as soon as someone comes in or I get up to move around the office, I put it on right away.

A few clients who have come in maskless have said, as I grab my mask, “Oh, you don’t need to put that on for me.” I reply (nicely) with, “Yes, I do!” I wear my mask to protect others and I would appreciate reciprocity on their part. Do you have a better response?

— Just Doing My Part

Dear Just Doing: After saying, “Yes, I do,” add the next sentence you wrote to me, which explains your reasoning: “I wear my mask to protect others and I would appreciate reciprocity on your part.” It is succinct, polite and gets across the message you are trying to convey. It’s also company policy.

Contact Dear Abby at