Dad insists boy stop seeing mom’s ex following divorce

DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband raised my son as his own from the time he was an infant. Now my son’s biological father is saying he wants our son to stay away from my ex-husband. However, my ex-husband and my son have a very strong bond. I believe the bond is even stronger than what he has with his biological father.

They are both good dads, but my ex-husband devotes more one-on-one time to my son than his biological father. I am confused. Must I distance him from my ex since we are no longer married? My son is now 6. — AT ODDS IN IOWA

DEAR AT ODDS: The boy’s father may sense that his son isn’t as bonded to him as he is to his former stepdad, which is why he is saying this. I have always believed that more love and positive reinforcement is better than less. By that, I mean I see no reason why you cannot expose your child to anyone you wish, including your former husband. Because you are confused about what your rights are as a mother, discuss this with an attorney.

DEAR ABBY: I have a suggestion for “Still Grieving in Montana,” who found out only after the death of her brother that he was homeless. She was grieving with the thought that she had been unable to help him.

I would suggest from now on she make it a point to help other homeless men. A way to do that would be by visiting a local homeless center and doing whatever she can to lend a hand. Rather than spend more money on therapists, assisting people who need it may not only make her feel better, but also benefit the community in an important and meaningful way. — EAST WINDSOR, N.J., READER

DEAR READER: Channeling grief into an activity can be therapeutic and can lessen depression. Thank you for writing. I’m glad you suggested it.


DEAR ABBY: About a year ago, I confessed to one of my close guy friends that I liked him. He said he wasn’t looking for a relationship. I haven’t brought it up since. I have now found out his roommate is interested in me. I politely declined his advances, but I can’t help but wonder if the guy I like turned me down because he knew his roommate liked me.

Even though it’s been over a year since I confessed my feelings, there hasn’t been a day I haven’t thought about him. I have a gut feeling that he’s where I’m supposed to be, but I don’t want to make another advance if he doesn’t want to be anything more than friends. I’m afraid of ruining our friendship.

We hang out in groups all the time and have deep conversations just the two of us, but we’ve never hung out alone, and he doesn’t initiate text messages or phone calls. Still, the connection we have when we’re together is undeniable and can’t be ignored. Should I tell him I still like him and risk being embarrassed again? Or should I stay quiet and live a life thinking “what if?” — MS. DANGEROUSLY IN LOVE

DEAR MS. DANGEROUSLY: Because you are dissatisfied with the way things are and thinking about a romantic relationship with this person every day, it’s time to get a definite answer from him. Tell him you care about him and ask one more time. But if his answer is still no, then accept that it isn’t meant to be and move on.

DEAR ABBY: How many times must one save the date for a destination “wedding”? Three and a half years ago my husband was asked to be a groomsman in a destination wedding. We agreed and saved the date, paid for travel and accommodations (none refundable). The wedding was canceled because the bride was expecting.

We endured the same process again, only for her to be eight months pregnant for that date. It was canceled again. We were then asked to take off work to drive to a private ceremony on a week’s notice, only for that ceremony to be canceled. After that, the couple subsequently married privately.

We have just received another save the date! Are we obligated to go? My husband believes he is, because he had told them he would be a groomsman nearly four years ago. I say, because they are ALREADY married (and we are already out $1,000), we should be off the hook. Is there a way to convince my husband of that? — NEVER A BRIDESMAID

DEAR NEVER: Probably not. However, your reasoning seems sound to me, and your husband is no more “on the hook” than he wants to be. Why he would still feel obligated to go through with this charade is beyond me. Be glad you are married to someone as patient, loyal and responsible as your husband is — all the things his friend is not.


DEAR ABBY: My husband and I moved from another state four years ago. He went a year and a half before getting a job after we moved. Now he’s out of a job again.

It has been seven months. He sits on the sofa and lounges around the house. He looks briefly for alerts on new job postings. He does a few chores — not many.

He was an attorney, but he doesn’t want to go back into the area of law he was in. He is getting no interviews, we’re blowing through our savings and my job doesn’t cover all of our expenses. I think he is unmotivated and lazy. At this point, I don’t have much to say to him anymore except, “Did you look for a job today?”

It’s sad what he has done to himself and his family. He won’t discuss his career. I have told him just to get any job at this point, but then he gets very angry. I’m sure our children wonder why he is not working. I am afraid of the impact this will have on them and the example it sets.

I am close to hiring a divorce attorney. This is not the life I want. I’m emotionally and physically drained, and disgusted and embarrassed by his behavior. I have no one to talk to about this. We live in an expensive area with many educated professionals who don’t behave like this. I’m sure if my friends and family knew, they would tell me to leave him. Help! — CRUSHED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR CRUSHED: Even if your husband can’t find employment, he could be doing volunteer work and making contacts that could be valuable. Rather than show the anger you understandably feel, continue to encourage him. Consider this: Could he be having a midlife crisis or experiencing severe depression? Before divorce, I urge you to see that your husband is medically and psychologically evaluated to determine what’s going on. If he refuses, it may then be time to review your options.

DEAR ABBY: I was recently hired as a chauffeur in New York City. There was never any mention of how people should address me.

We are given information about the client we will be meeting. Some clients prefer not to be addressed as “Sir” or “Ms. X.” I was told to always address my passenger using formal introductions such as “Good morning, Ms. X,” unless otherwise instructed. I have noticed that all of my clients address me by my first name (the name given to them by dispatch).

I find it odd that it appears to be acceptable for the client to be informal with me, but I must be formal with them. Is this common? Should I ask the front office to give only my surname? — INFORMAL IN NEW YORK

DEAR INFORMAL: It is VERY common. However, since it bothers you to be addressed by your first name, by all means ask the dispatcher to inform the clients that “Mr. Jones” will be their driver that day.

EDITOR’S NOTE: 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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.