Family’s cruelty toward pets casts doubt

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DEAR ABBY: My fiance, “Jamie,” and I have been together almost four years. Everything was fine until we hit a major roadblock.

I was raised to love animals. Jamie’s parents are the polar opposite. I have always kept my cool when I heard stories about his father abusing animals. I asked Jamie to talk to his parents and let them know how I feel. He never did.

Just before Christmas we were over there for a visit, and his mother told a horrible story about his dad killing a pet rabbit. I couldn’t control myself any longer; I burst into tears and yelled, “Your father is a horrible man!”

We left that night, and I told Jamie I could never go back. He needed to make a choice: a wife who could be a part of his family – or me. He chose me – at least that’s what I thought.

Jamie recently asked me if I had calmed down and could put this in the past. I don’t think I can. How can we have a life together if I don’t want to be a part of his family? – APPALLED IN LIVONIA, MICH.

DEAR APPALLED: The answer is you can’t, because you and Jamie have very different values. His father’s behavior is sadistic, and his mother appears to feel that killing a pet is normal. Your fiance might like to think that all this can be smoothed over, but what happened at Christmas was your glimpse at the future. My advice is to end it now, before you wind up joining a clan whose sensitivities and values are so different from your own.

DEAR ABBY: I am grieving the death of my beloved mother. She was in her late 80s, and her friends who are still living were loyal in attending the visitation or the funeral, or sending a card.

However, my friends were absent and unresponsive, and it has left me feeling puzzled and deserted. I have always sent cards and responded to their family losses. Where were they in my time of need? Are they still my friends or not?

I must add that during the last year I went through a nasty divorce, and my former wife and her parents conducted a smear campaign against me. However, at the funeral, my former in-laws were in attendance. What do you think of this? – DESERTED IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR DESERTED: It’s possible that your former in-laws showed up simply to pay their respects to someone they had known – and presumably gotten along with – for a long time. As to the friends upon whom you counted for support, and who were absent in your time of need, you are asking the wrong person. You should ask them why they ignored your mother’s death, and if they consider themselves still to be your friends. It’s not a rude question. You’re entitled to an answer, and hearing the truth might be empowering.

DEAR ABBY: Several years ago I had a mastectomy. Whenever I tell people this, invariably the first question they ask is, “Which side?” Initially I was caught off guard and, without knowing what else to do, I’d tell them the answer. Then they would stare at my chest!

I don’t know what possesses people to behave that way. It’s absolutely none of their business and it’s very offensive. I’d love it if you would pass the word along. Thank you! – SURVIVOR IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SURVIVOR: Consider it passed. Readers, if someone tells you she (or he) has had a mastectomy, remember that personal questions can be an invasion of privacy, and keep your glance no lower than the jawline.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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