With dad out of the coun­try, boyfriend takes on par­ent­ing

The Garden Island - - Pau Hana Time - JEAN PHILLIPS

DEAR ABBY: My hus­band’s brother split from his wife, “Char­lotte,” five years ago and now works and lives in an­other coun­try. The broth­ers are still quite close. His schoolage daugh­ters live nearby and are close to their cousins, our daugh­ters.

Char­lotte’s lat­est boyfriend (they have been dat­ing for 18 months) has started in­sist­ing on hang­ing out with my hus­band and try­ing to “bond” with him. He is also jump­ing with both feet into the role of step­fa­ther, es­pe­cially with the younger daugh­ter, who has just re­turned af­ter liv­ing with her father for the last seven months.

It feels awk­ward and weird, but we are too po­lite to say any­thing to him or Char­lotte be­cause we’re afraid she’ll re­strict us from see­ing our nieces. What is your ad­vice? — ANX­IOUS IN AUS­TRALIA

DEAR ANX­IOUS: Not know­ing the terms of your brother-in-law’s di­vorce, my ad­vice is to con­sider that Char­lotte has been with this man for a year and a half. He may be try­ing to form a re­la­tion­ship with your hus­band be­cause he wants to bond with “the rel­a­tives.” Your hus­band doesn’t have to be best friends with him, but he should keep the re­la­tion­ship cor­dial — not only for the nieces, but also so his brother can stay in­formed about them.

DEAR ABBY: One of my co-work­ers con­stantly in­ter­rupts when I’m hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with other peo­ple. It doesn’t seem to mat­ter who I am speak­ing with or what the sub­ject is. She’ll in­ter­rupt in the mid­dle of the con­ver­sa­tion, and ev­ery­one must stop and look at her or ac­knowl­edge her.

We are in a pro­fes­sional en­vi­ron­ment, and I feel her be­hav­ior is ex­tremely dis­cour­te­ous. The sub­jects she dis­cusses are things like the sand­wiches her hus­band bought the day be­fore, what they had for din­ner that night or what­ever is trend­ing at the mo­ment. She never dis­cusses work-re­lated is­sues.

This hap­pens ev­ery day and it’s dis­rup­tive. Would you kindly share some ideas on how to deal with her in­ter­rup­tions? — BOTH­ERED OF­FICE GUY

DEAR OF­FICE GUY: Ob­vi­ously, your co-worker was never taught that in­ter­rupt­ing while oth­ers are talk­ing is rude. Be­cause it both­ers you, the next time she does it, tell her it’s dis­tract­ing when she breaks into your con­ver­sa­tions and to please stop. If she per­sists, and other co-work­ers feel as you do about it, bring it to the at­ten­tion of your su­per­vi­sor or HR and let that per­son han­dle it. ••• To con­tact Abby visit DearAbby.com.

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