Dear Annie: My mother chooses to hide the fact that her boyfriend is a pedophile. He abused me 15 years ago, when I was a teenager, and it still haunts me.
Mom broke up with him for a short period of time, but they got back together, and the abuse started again. She didn’t want to press charges because it would mess up his retirement. She is still seeing this man.
I have had great therapy. My wonderful husband and I have a 5-year-old daughter. We used to allow her to stay overnight at Grandma’s until she told us that Grandma took her to her boyfriend’s house. I wrote my mother a letter and told her that as long as this man is in her life, we wouldn’t be. That was a year ago. Our daughter has not seen her grandmother since then.
With therapy, I have learned that the abuse was not my fault, and I will not subject myself or my daughter to this man. Shortly after I was born, my mother dated a kind man who always treated me like a daughter. I am still close to him, and he continues to be a big part of my life. He’s all the father I need.
I miss my mother, but have no room for her in my life as long as she and this man are together. Why would a mother pick a sexual abuser over her own daughter and granddaughter?
-- Daughter of a Sick Woman
Dear Daughter: Your mother is so desperate to have a man in her life that she puts him first in all things. She allowed him to abuse you because she feared losing him. She continues to see him over your objections because she values that relationship above the one she has with you.
Your mother, sad to say, is not the first woman to behave this way, and she won’t be the last. But we are glad you have broken the pattern. Protecting your child is your primary obligation, and you are doing it by keeping your daughter away from your mother’s boyfriend.
Dear Annie: Our child is getting married soon. A relative uses a service dog for a physiological disorder. The dog has not been trained by a licensed organization. Rather, the relative trained the dog herself.
Unfortunately, he’s not completely well behaved in public. He barks out of turn and grooms himself inappropriately. He lies down and sprawls out, consuming a lot of floor space. We heard that he once nipped someone’s hand.
Normally, we don’t concern ourselves with whether or not this is a legitimate, trained service dog.
However, with all of the small children and multiple people at this wedding, the bride and groom do not wish to have this dog present. Based on the disabilities laws and requirements for service dogs in our state, we’ve decided that we do not need to include this particular dog. So how do I tell this relative? Do I call her? Include a note in the invitation? How do I diplomatically word such a request?
-- Dog-Free Wedding
Dear Wedding: Please don’t put this in the invitation. Call the relative and tell her that you are so sorry you cannot accommodate her dog at the wedding due to the large number of guests and small children.
Perhaps you could offer her a “plus one” so she can bring a friend. But be prepared for her to put up a fuss about it and threaten not to come. How you handle that is up to you.
Dear Annie: “Awaiting Your Help” said one husband tags along with his wife to her once-a-month night out with five other women. He may be demanding to come with her. He may be a controlling abuser who will not let his wife have a life of her own.
Her friends should gently probe that possibility. One day, she may not be allowed to show up at all.
-- Just Sayin’
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