Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: One night about six months ago, my mom walked out on my dad. A week later, she admitted she had been having an affair for a whole year. My parents’ divorce was final three months after she left. Mom has now announced to me and my siblings that she’s engaged and plans to marry her fiance just six months after the divorce. We think it’s a terrible idea. We really dislike her fiance and think he’s a bad guy based on our interactions with him. Mom claims to be happy, but we don’t believe her. Should we just let her live her life? How do we accept this new reality? — THROWN IN WASHINGTON

DEAR THROWN: If you and your siblings plan to maintain a relationship with your mother, handle this like the hot potato it is. Recognize that things were not as rosy as you assumed in your parents’ marriage, take things one step at a time, and make an extra effort to look out for your father. Then cross your fingers and hope that as painful as this disruption is, everything works out for the best.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married 33 years. We have no savings. We live paycheck to paycheck. My husband keeps borrowing more and more, and our credit cards are out of hand. He still works. I am retired. He has a 28-foot enclosed trailer stuffed with mechanical items, hobbies, collectibles and who knows what else, as well as a double garage filled with so much you can’t walk in. There is $10,000 to $15,000 worth of stuff. He refuses to sell anything even though he hasn’t even been to the trailer in more than a year. We have terrible fights over this. I’m losing sleep over our future. Any ideas? — GOING DOWNHILL IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR GOING DOWNHILL: From what you have described, your husband is a hoarder. Some people do this because of anxiety or depression. Your husband needs to get to the root of why he spends compulsively on things he isn’t using. His doctor could refer him for counseling and possibly medication that would help if he is willing. However, if he’s unwilling, you may need to separate your finances from his before he encumbers you both further.
DEAR ABBY: How do you tell your adult children it’s time for them to start planning family events? Neither of my 30-something kids has planned a thing. I thought I raised them better than this, but unless I plan birthdays, holidays, etc., nothing happens. I’m tired of being the social glue. How do I get them to step up? — PASSING THE TORCH
DEAR PASSING: You can encourage your children to step forward and assume some responsibility for family events by telling them in plain English. As the next holiday draws near, approach them individually and as a group, and inform them if they want family celebrations, they should start planning some of them because, after all these years, you need a break.
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.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
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