DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband and I divorced a year ago. We share a 4-year-old son and have a cordial relationship.
Shortly after our divorce, he married a woman he had been carrying on an affair with while married to me. Since their wedding she has not allowed him to enter my home beyond the front door, be alone with me for any reason regardless of what we need to discuss, and he rarely calls to talk with our son anymore — all at her "request."
He has also informed me that she’s "not comfortable" with the idea of us communicating unless she is part of the conversation. I think she is being silly and immature, and he claims to agree, but he wants to keep the peace.
I explained to him that even though he may allow her to dictate his life, she will not be dictating mine. If I feel I need to speak with him about something, I do not have to include her. Am I wrong? I am in no way trying to cause a problem in their marriage. I have decided that whatever answer you give I will abide by, as I respect your opinion greatly. — NEEDS AN ANSWER IN TEXAS
DEAR NEEDS AN ANSWER: The current "Mrs." is acting more like a jailer than a wife, but then, she knows what your ex is capable of if he gets past the front door or has private conversations with another woman.
This is happening because she perceives you as still a threat. That your former husband allows her to exert this amount of control is unfortunate. The distancing from his son is happening because he is permitting it, and the loser here is the little boy.
You’re not wrong, but if the only way your son can have a relationship with his dad is for this woman to be ever-present, then bite your tongue and go along with it for as long as this marriage lasts or your ex summons up enough backbone to set his No. 2 straight.
DEAR ABBY: My sisters and I look out for our "Aunt Lil," who is in her late 70s and never had children. Physically and mentally she’s fine right now. She quit driving a few years ago, but that had more to do with the price of gas than her driving ability. We run errands for her, take her to appointments, etc.
Our question: For most of her life, Aunt Lil has kept up a steady correspondence with many people all over the world. When I say she has pen pals everywhere, I’m not exaggerating. When the time comes and she is gone, how should we notify her friends?
I think a simple form letter would be fine, but my sisters think each person should be notified individually, either with a phone call or a personal letter. Abby, there are 100 people she writes to and those are just the ones we’re aware of! Your thoughts would be appreciated. — AUNT LIL’S GIRLS
DEAR GIRLS: Considering that people live longer these days, I wouldn’t write off Aunt Lil too quickly. Because she still has all her faculties, ask HER how she wants it handled. She may prefer to write her own farewell note to be mailed after her death. ("By the time this reaches you, I will have gone to that great stationery store in the sky ...")
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069