Wife de­cries kiss­ing cousin’s re­turn to fam­ily gath­er­ings


DEAR ABBY: When my hus­band and I were dat­ing, he told me that he’d had a con­sen­sual sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with his cousin, “Irma.” He said they were in their early 20s and very im­ma­ture. They parted ways be­cause they both knew it was wrong, and Irma moved to an­other state. He told me so one day I wouldn’t be blind­sided should we ever be mar­ried.

Well, we got mar­ried, and this cousin has kept her dis­tance un­til re­cently. Irma has now started to at­tend their fam­ily events. We live too far away to go, but I dread the day when we do and she’s there. Should I act like I don’t know what went on be­fore I was in the pic­ture? No­body in his fam­ily knows this ever hap­pened between them.

I have told my hus­band it makes me very un­com­fort­able and that it al­most seems she at­tends hop­ing to run into him. Why else would she? I would be very ashamed of hav­ing done this and would con­tinue to keep my dis­tance.

My hus­band says I have noth­ing to worry about be­cause Irma means noth­ing to him. What do I do if I run into this woman at one of th­ese fam­ily gath­er­ings? — NOT HAPPY IN THE USA

DEAR NOT HAPPY: I know it may be un­com­fort­able, but when your paths fi­nally cross, be po­lite. You don’t have to do any­thing but ex­change the ba­sic so­cial ameni­ties, and spend your time so­cial­iz­ing with the other rel­a­tives.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a mid­dle-aged, sin­gle woman. My 76-year-old fa­ther lives with me. We get along well and the ar­range­ment works fine, ex­cept for one prob­lem. He never washes his hands af­ter go­ing to the bath­room. To make mat­ters worse, he does most of the cook­ing, and he of­ten goes right from the bath­room straight into the kitchen.

I know that if I com­ment on his lack of hy­giene, he will get an­gry and de­fen­sive. How do I get him to be san­i­tary at his age? — HUN­GRY NO MORE

DEAR HUN­GRY NO MORE: I don’t blame you for hav­ing lost your ap­petite. Af­ter read­ing your let­ter, mine is gone, too.

You say your fa­ther lives with you and not the re­verse. In your home, you get to make the rules. If this makes your fa­ther “de­fen­sive and an­gry,” so be it.

There’s a rea­son em­ploy­ees of restau­rants are re­quired to wash their hands af­ter us­ing the bath­room. It’s to pre­vent the spread of dis­ease. It may mean watch­ing your fa­ther like a hawk, but you will have to en­force this. And if at all pos­si­ble, do the cook­ing your­self.

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