FROM ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION
FOR RELEASE: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2022
DEAR ABBY by Abigail Van Buren
SON TURNS AWAY FROM FAMILY WHEN GIRLFRIEND IS SHUNNED
DEAR ABBY: I'm writing because I need some guidance. My 21-year-old son, "Dennis," is involved with a young woman he met in college. She is physically, verbally and emotionally abusive to him. Dennis is very intelligent -- a straight-A student, to be exact. We gave Dennis the best life we possibly could. His dad and I have been together for 26 years and raised him in a nurturing, Christian environment with strong family ties.
When Dennis went away to college, it seems like everything changed. His girlfriend has notable mood swings, becomes upset when he is near family, is very disrespectful and the list goes on. Recently, I told Dennis she's no longer welcome to our home. Now he has distanced himself from us, which is hurtful because he has younger siblings. I want a close relationship with him, but I refuse to tolerate his girlfriend. Am I wrong? Please give me some advice. -- MISS HIM IN THE WEST
DEAR MISS HIM: Yes, you were wrong to "banish" the girlfriend because, although you were trying to protect your son, it drove him away from you and closer to his abuser. It may be time for your husband to have a man-to-man talk with Dennis and point out that his girlfriend's behavior could indicate that she has emotional problems. Normal people do not hit and verbally abuse others. He should also tell Dennis that you said what you did because you felt not only disrespected by his girlfriend, but also were afraid for him.
Whether it will get through to your son is anyone's guess, but since he and his abuser are in college and have access to a student health center, it could benefit both of them to get counseling. For Dennis, to help him figure out why he would tolerate being abused; for her, to help her gain some self-control.
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DEAR ABBY: I have a friend who had been ill for some time. Three years ago, two of his adult sons moved in with him because they'd been kicked out of their mom's house. They never got jobs or paid rent.
My friend died a month ago, and now his sons and "companion" want all of us who were his friends to organize a memorial service. They claim they "don't know how to do this kind of thing." My friend also has two adult daughters and three grandchildren.
Isn't it the duty of the surviving family members to do this? While I wouldn't mind providing a list of his friends and phone numbers, I feel the sons are lazy and exploitative, and I'm very uncomfortable being asked to form a group and do a job they should be doing. I'm not going to participate, and I wondered what you think. -- DISAPPOINTED GRIEVER
DEAR GRIEVER: I think you are absolutely correct. The honor of giving your friend a loving and respectful sendoff belongs with his family. By all means provide a list of those who would like to pay their respects. And, while you're at it, suggest the person who contacted you reach out to his father's religious adviser or a local funeral home for guidance.
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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.
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What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
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