Con­do­lences for death of an ex puz­zle wife

The Island Packet (Sunday) - - Tv - JEAN­NEPHILLIPS Con­tact Dear Abby at www. or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

Dear Abby: My hus­band of 20 years, “Jerry,” re­cently learned about an old girl­friend’s death. A Face­book friend in­formed him about it. The mes­sage ar­rived late at night while I was sleep­ing, and he woke me to tell me the news.

He is now re­ceiv­ing con­do­lences from friends that he is re­spond­ing to as though he were griev­ing. Abby, the old girl­friend and my hus­band split up on very bad terms. She not only cheated on him but gave him an STD. I am ap­palled and feel hurt that this is hap­pen­ing. Friends of mine are sur­prised and sus­pi­cious about it.

I con­fronted my hus­band and asked him if the sit­u­a­tion were re­versed and I were the one who died and an old flame started re­ceiv­ing con­do­lences, how would he feel? Jerry said it wouldn’t bother him. Is it nor­mal to send con­do­lences to old flames?— Deathly Con­fused in Texas

Dear Deathly: It’s nor­mal to in­form oth­ers about a death, but con­sid­er­ing the cir­cum­stances of the breakup, what’s go­ing on isn’t “nor­mal.” It’s pos­si­ble that themes­sages your hus­band is re­ceiv­ing are from other Face­book friends who are con­nected to the sender of the orig­i­nal mes­sage.

While it isn’t un­usual for old friends to reach out to each other af­ter news of a death, to con­vey it in the form of a con­do­lence to an ex-boyfriend af­ter the ro­mance is long over strikes me as some­what odd. My ad­vice is to re­main calm, don’t let it give you heart­burn and wait for the emo­tions to sub­side with time.

Dear Abby: The hol­i­days are ap­proach­ing, and I sus­pect­many young cou­ples are fac­ing the same prob­lem about where to spend Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas. I have two daugh­ters— one mar­ried and one sin­gle. The mar­ried daugh­ter’s moth­erin-law has de­clared that this is “her” year for Thanks­giv­ing, and next year is “her” year for Christ­mas. She has three sons, none of whom lives within four hours of her home. All three sons have chil­dren.

Don’t you think the sons and their wives should de­cide for them­selves if they want to travel for the hol­i­days? They may pre­fer to spend Christ­mas morn­ing in their own homes. Also, what about her daugh­tersin-law’s par­ents? Per­haps they, too, have other grown chil­dren who would like to de­cide what they want to do for the hol­i­days.

My phi­los­o­phy is to plan my hol­i­days and in­vite my chil­dren. If they can come, great! If not, there are no hard feel­ings. If all ofmy chil­dren and grand­chil­dren can’t be here at the same time, I fo­cus on the ones who are and en­joy the time I have with them. I think the woman is be­ing dis­re­spect­ful to her sons and daugh­ters-in-law. What say you?— Fo­cus on a Good Time

Dear Fo­cus: As your let­ter il­lus­trates, not all moth­ers-in-law are alike. Some are iron- isted ma­tri­archs who de­mand obe­di­ence from their grown chil­dren. Oth­ers, like you, are more easy­go­ing. In my opin­ion, the woman you have de­scribed is less dis­re­spect­ful than over­bear­ing.

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