DEAR AMY: I was on a family vacation with my husband and two kids, my mom and her longtime boyfriend. At a meal one evening, the boyfriend appeared to be mocking the thick accent of our waitress, and I tried to (nicely) tell him that she might be offended.
He said that he did not care what she thought and then got up and left. For the remaining several days, he ignored me and my kids, lurking around at a distance with an angry look on his face while we tried to enjoy ourselves.
He was extremely unpleasant and would not even say goodbye to us at the airport. I was very upset by his behavior. He has been a father figure to me for most of my life. It appeared to my kids that he suddenly did not like them or want to talk to them (I tried to explain that he was angry with me, not them).
This whole incident made me realize that he does not respect me as much as he does his biological daughter. As it stands now, I really want nothing more to do with him, and I do not want him around my kids. It makes it difficult to visit my mom, but as I told her, she chooses to have him in her life, and I choose not to have him in mine. Is this a reasonable position? -- Upset
DEAR UPSET: Sometimes, one event can spiral out of control; this event can seem to open your eyes to tons of information, which you feel forced to act upon as a matter of principle.
That’s when you need to take a deep breath and see if you can manage to tolerate a less-than-ideal relationship with a less-than-ideal person.
This man’s behavior on the family vacation was incredibly immature, rude and hurtful. But you claim he is a father figure to you, and so, rather than behave the way he is behaving and walk away from the relationship, you could choose to confront him, ask some questions and arrive at some sort of (even imperfect) resolution.
Trying this and failing is better than not trying at all. If you try, but there is no resolution or reconciliation, then, yes, you should lay your non-negotiable at your mother’s feet and let her make the tough choices.
DEAR AMY: I just had to respond to the letter from “Retired,” the gentleman who didn’t want to do half of the housework now that he was no longer working outside the home.
My mom was always a stay-at-home mom, as was common in her generation, and she did all the cooking and housework while my dad was working. When my dad retired at age 65, she said that now that he had retired, she was going to retire too! He had to learn to cook and do 50 percent of the cooking.
That was the best thing she ever did for him. He did learn to cook, and this meant that when she died 15 years ago, he was able to cook and generally take care of himself. My dad is 94 and is still independent and does all his own cooking.
So I would say that it is in Retired’s best interests to learn to cook, not only to keep his wife happy but also because it is an important skill that he might need in the future. -- Joyce
DEAR JOYCE: I appreciate this reasoning, and I assume your father does too.
DEAR AMY: I’m responding to the letter from “One-Legged Lady,” the middle-age amputee who was worried about how to disclose her disability to dates.
Amy, get real! Not to disclose her loss of a leg until the fifth date!
I can almost guarantee that most couples who meet will have sex by the second date.
I speak from experience as a three-time divorcee and know my adult children have had sex on their first or second date, and I consider us “normal people.” -- Disgusted
DEAR DISGUSTED: I inferred that this woman was looking for a (possible) lasting relationship.
Being a three-time divorcee does make you the voice of experience, but perhaps a bit of a slow learner.