DEAR ABBY: A number of years ago, it came out that my brother-in-law had raped and molested his two daughters and two granddaughters. It tore our family apart.
Although my sister said she intended to divorce him, she never did. She also didn’t report it – so he was never convicted of the crime – but we all, including my sister, knew it was true. Since then, my sister has disowned her daughters, my mother and me. She still interacts with her son and his family.
I know I shouldn’t miss my sister, but I do. I know my mom misses her, too. Abby, how can we get past this? Our family was always close and now this? The grief is killing me. – Anguished in Arkansas
DEAR ANGUISHED: It seems there was a conspiracy of silence in the family. Your sister dealt with her husband’s crime by choosing to ignore that he is a sexual predator. That your sister has blamed his victims is beyond the pale. Your nieces and grand-nieces should talk with a licensed mental health professional about this, and so should you and your mother. If you’re lucky, the person may be able to offer a group discount.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I are in our 50s. We have lived together for two years. He’s retired. I work full time.
We have a woman friend, married with kids, who he sees almost daily during the summer at the swimming pool. Every day he says to her, “What time will you be here? I’ll be here around 10. See ya then.” I know she brings him food occasionally, even though he hasn’t told me.
Sometimes he can be in a foul mood, and all he wants is to go to the pool and relax. When we go, he searches for her. If he sees her, his eyes light up and he gets a big smile on his face. When I pointed it out to him, he gave me the silent treatment for a couple of hours, then accused me of being jealous.
We are in a committed relationship, but I find this threatening. Was I wrong to say what I did? – Georgia Girl
DEAR GEORGIA GIRL: No, but you should have told him he was right after he accused you of being jealous, and that you wish his eyes would light up that way when he sees you. It appears your guy has developed a crush. If you handle it with humor, it will pass. However, if you don’t, he will continue to be defensive. So use a light touch.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a first-time writer to your column. I’m mentally disabled, have muscular dystrophy and am diabetic. I take a lot of medication. When people ask me why I don’t work or “Where do you work?” what should I say? When I say I don’t work and that I’m disabled, they look at me funny and don’t believe it. My disabilities aren’t visible. – Wendy in Pennsylvania
DEAR WENDY: You are not obligated to disclose your medical history to people you know casually. (If they knew you well, they wouldn’t be asking those questions.) All you need to say is, “You know, that’s personal. If you’ll forgive me for not answering your question, I’ll forgive you for asking.” Then change the subject.