Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: My mother is 90 and has been a widow for 10 years. When we moved to this city 30 years ago, my parents made friends with a group of people. In this group was a couple nobody in our family liked (Dad especially), but Mom remained friends with them. Abby, the husband is a smarmy narcissist.

A couple of weeks ago, I went into my mom’s house (not unannounced) and found my mom in bed with this man. I can’t describe the revulsion I felt. My problem is, I don’t know how complicit my mom is, or whether he has been grooming her over the years and is abusing her. That was my initial thought because he tried it with me many years ago.
Mom tried to cover up what was going on (“He was fixing the blinds”), but I can’t unsee what I saw. I don’t know if she lied because she’s complicit or afraid. How do I handle this? I haven’t spoken to Mom since, except to voice my disgust the next day. — DISGUSTED DAUGHTER IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR DAUGHTER: Resume talking to your mother. The fact that her lover came on to you years ago is the reason you are concerned about her welfare. That said, you are not the morality police; at 90, your mother deserves to have a sex life if she chooses.
DEAR ABBY: There’s this guy I’ve been friends with since ninth grade whom I have always had a crush on. We talk, and he’s a funny and nice guy, but he gives me mixed signals. He’s shy and not overly affectionate. He doesn’t go to parties or events like that. I want to make a move, but I’m afraid if I do, I’ll creep him out.
I want to respect his privacy and boundaries, but I also don’t want to miss out on a chance to get to know him more. I have made it my goal to get to know him as a friend and classmate before trying to get to know him romantically. I feel a connection to him, unlike previous crushes or relationships I have had.
My mom keeps telling me I’m too young to tie myself down to a guy (I’m 17) and to keep my options open, but I feel content with him, and I’ve never felt as much in common with anyone the way I do with him. My friends sometimes laugh at the idea that I like him, but even under all his introverted reclusiveness, I see an amazing human being and a wonderful guy. Any advice? — CRUSHING HARD IN MARYLAND
DEAR CRUSHING: I’m glad you are taking this slowly because it may take some time for this person to develop romantic feelings for you (or anyone). Keep talking and joking with him. If an event comes up, consider asking him to join you AND YOUR OTHER FRIENDS. If he responds positively, keep doing it, and slowly he may come around. I wish you luck.
DEAR READERS: Along with the millions of Americans who are observing this Memorial Day, I would like to add my own prayer of thanks for those courageous men and women who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country. May they rest in peace. — LOVE, ABBY
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.
To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
(EDITORS: If you have editorial questions, please contact Clint Hooker,
1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106; 816-581-7500

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