After 40 years, woman still can’t move on

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - YOUR DAILY 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.

DEAR ABBY >> After 19 years of mar­riage, my mother di­vorced my fa­ther to be with my step­fa­ther. They have been to­gether for 40 years now. The prob­lem is, Mom can’t go more than three days with­out talk­ing about my fa­ther or his fam­ily. It’s like my stepsi­b­lings grew up with a “ghost” step­dad be­cause of the con­stant sto­ries.

I have tried drop­ping sub­tle hints to my mother, such as, “That was 48 years ago. Why are you still hold­ing onto that?” Noth­ing stops her. She even talks about him to peo­ple she’s just met. How can I get her to let go of the man SHE left, and un­der­stand that this must be an on­go­ing jab to her cur­rent hus­band’s self-es­teem? — Em­bar­rassed for my step­dad

DEAR EM­BAR­RASSED >> That your mother feels com­pelled to do this even with strangers is pe­cu­liar, but nei­ther you nor I can change her be­hav­ior. Un­less you know for a fact that your step­fa­ther has asked her not to do it, do not be em­bar­rassed for him. His self-es­teem may be strong enough that what she’s say­ing doesn’t bother him. Frankly, what she’s do­ing is far more a re­flec­tion on her than upon him.

DEAR ABBY >> I am a 45-yearold man. When I was in high school, I couldn’t get a date. I’m not unattrac­tive, and I wasn’t even back then. But I was some­what of a so­cial out­cast.

In re­cent years I have re­con­nected with sev­eral peo­ple I went to school with, and re­turned to my home­town for a short visit to show my kids where I grew up. Abby, I was over­whelmed with at­ten­tion from women who wouldn’t give me the time of day 25 years ago. I ad­mit I like the change, but I’m un­com­fort­able that there has been such a dra­matic shift in their view of me.

I’m not rich. I have a sta­ble job, but haven’t done much with my life other than leave the small ru­ral town I was raised in. Now I am con­stantly con­tacted by women who used to never look in my di­rec­tion, ask­ing me if it’s pos­si­ble to be­come ro­man­ti­cally in­volved.

Is this a case of the one that got away? Or is it a case of the grass is greener some­where else, and I found a way to jump the fence? — Con­founded in Alabama

DEAR CON­FOUNDED >> Per­haps nei­ther. As peo­ple ma­ture, their val­ues usu­ally ma­ture along with them. Or, like fine wine, you may have im­proved with age.

DEAR ABBY >> Would you kindly in­form your read­ers that there is noth­ing wrong with be­ing the first per­son to go through a buf­fet line or be seated at the din­ner ta­ble when din­ner is called?

A host­ess (or host) works hard to pre­pare a meal in a timely man­ner, and it seems im­po­lite, al­most rude, for guests to shuf­fle around wait­ing for some­one else to go first. I’m pretty sure the hosts don’t want to see their per­fectly good meal sit on the ta­ble get­ting cold. There is no re­ward for go­ing last, be­cause the only thing that re­sults from it is a frus­trated host or host­ess. — Early bird in Ohio

DEAR EARLY BIRD >> At a din­ner party in a pri­vate home, it is rude to ig­nore a host’s re­quest to be seated. For any­one who doesn’t want to be the first at a buf­fet, the so­lu­tion would be to say to your com­pan­ions, “I don’t know about you, but I’m hun­gry. How about us get­ting in line?” It’s bet­ter than hav­ing them lis­ten to your stom­ach growl. But watch out for the stam­pede.

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