Dear Abby: My 34-year-old daughter lives with me to get ahead on her student loans. She has a good job, pays rent and has a serious boyfriend.
My niece, her cousin, recently died by suicide, and naturally, we are all devastated, but my daughter took the news especially hard. I had to be out of town for three weeks, and during this time she has been spending time with my sister-in-law’s family as they all navigate this tragedy.
My niece left behind several pets – dogs and a mama cat with kittens. My daughter called me, announced she had brought a kitten home and declared that this kitten has helped her in her grief process. I am livid that she didn’t ask me first (she knew the answer would be a firm “no”). She’s now claiming that I don’t care about her grief.
I feel emotionally blackmailed, and I’m dreading the confrontation when I get home. This kitten has taken this devastating tragedy to a new level. How should I handle this? – Family Grief
Dear Family Grief: While I understand your feelings, handle it by being less hard-nosed about the fact that your daughter didn’t follow protocol by asking permission before bringing home the kitten.
Allow her to keep it, and during those times when she can’t be home because she’s working, etc., encourage her to leave the little furball with her boyfriend.
Make plain that the creature is – and will be – her responsibility, meaning she will be responsible for feeding, vet bills, litter box, etc. And, most important of all, try not to fall in love with it because when your daughter leaves, Kitty will be going with her.
Dear Abby: I am a straight female. I have been divorced for 10-plus years and recently decided, after five years of trying to attract a new man through online dating, that I want to be single and celibate for the rest of my life.
Literally days after I wrote the decision in my journal, guys are coming at me out of the woodwork, chatting me up, even giving unsolicited hugs. I’m bewildered.
I subscribed to a dating site for a full-year membership and got not one single reply to any of my messages. Not one! I also tried a different dating site, where my friend met her spouse. It yielded crickets. No man ever messaged me to say, “Hey, I like your photo and want to know more about you.” This reinforces my decision that I want nothing to do with men. – Leave Me Alone
Dear Leave Me Alone: And your question is? If you are asking me to validate a decision you made out of frustration after a year of terrible luck, I can’t in good conscience do that. We can’t run from life because we are afraid of the pain of being open. That is the coward’s choice.
If men are showing an interest, allow them to get to know you and vice versa, instead of hiding. Be present and live your life in situations that include available people, which sometimes yields better results than the pressure of online dating.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.