DEAR ABBY: I am a teenage girl in an average family. I started getting interested in LGBTQ+ and other social justice topics when I was in fifth grade.
Since then, I have realized that, among other things, I'm a lesbian, a liberal and an atheist. This wouldn't be a problem, but my father hates many of the things I am or stand for. He's an extremely conservative, Christian, gun-rights person, and he wants me and my brothers to join the military. He constantly pushes me to be the best that I can be, and I try, but his idea of "best" is very different from mine.
I have several mental problems, which resulted in me getting special privileges in school. I use them whenever I can, but it is never enough for him. He keeps searching through my grade book until he finds something new for me to do, regardless of the date it was assigned or whether it can be graded anymore.
I have various restrictions on my use of technology, so I can barely contact my friends. It has gotten to the point that I am worried about when I come out and looking forward to college just so I can get away. Please tell me what to do in the meantime because college is five years away. -- WAITING IN VIRGINIA
DEAR WAITING: You and your dad have very different outlooks on life, and that's OK. That said, you must live under his roof for the next five years, so be diplomatic and keep some of your opinions to yourself as long as possible.
You may think your father is heavy-handed in parenting you, but has it occurred to you that when he goes through your grade book, he's trying to make sure you know how to work all the problems in it? Placing restrictions on a minor's use of technology is intelligent parenting, at least for someone just entering her teens. Please try to cut him some slack. Recognize there is a bright future ahead of you if you concentrate on your studies to the best of your ability and buckle down now.
DEAR ABBY: My 32-year-old son, "Jerry," wanted to propose to his girlfriend, but didn't have money for a ring. My husband offered him my original engagement ring, assuming for some reason (or maybe just not thinking) that my old ring didn't hold sentimental value to me, although I wore that 1/3-carat diamond every day for 32 years before getting a new, larger one.
After the ring was offered, I felt forced to let him have it. I knew it wouldn't fit his girlfriend, and I also didn't think she would settle for such a small diamond, but I figured he would have the diamond put into a setting that fit her. I got over my feeling of loss knowing he would use the ring.
Well, he didn't. He gave her my ring, and then they went out and charged a nice-sized engagement ring that she selected. My original ring now hangs on a chain in her jewelry box. Should I ask for my ring back? -- MEANS A LOT IN TEXAS
DEAR MEANS A LOT: Because your first engagement ring is not being used as intended and was only a place holder until your son's fiancee got what she really wanted, I see no reason why you shouldn't ask, and I also see no reason why she shouldn't graciously comply.
DEAR ABBY: I just divorced my husband. We were together for 13 years. The last three weren't great. After my divorce -- which was grueling -- I reconnected with my son's father, and we are in love. Our romance was doomed before it started back then. Our son is now 18, and we are in our 40s.
Today, our situation is very different. We are both doing well financially and individually. We are blissfully happy and don't rehash the past. I feel like we were interrupted when we were young. Am I crazy for feeling he is The One? I really want it to work. -- IN LOVE IN NEVADA
DEAR IN LOVE: You aren't crazy, but you are recently divorced and didn't mention how long you have been "reconnected" with your son's father. I urge you to put the brakes on and take the time to get to know each other again. I also think you should rehash the past because unless the problems of years ago are resolved, they may be repeated. Time will tell if he is, indeed, "The One," and fortunately, you both have plenty of it. I wish you a happy ending.
DEAR ABBY: I have five nieces and nephews. With the exception of one nephew, my wife and I have attended all of their weddings. They were all invited to and attended our daughter's wedding.
The last nephew is being married next year. All of his cousins are invited, with the exception of my daughter. Why? Even though she is the same age as the rest of his cousins, he says he doesn't know her that well.
Should my wife and I attend his wedding? If we do, I will insist he invite my daughter as well. Kindly provide your opinion. -- EXCLUDED IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR EXCLUDED: Excluding your daughter so glaringly guarantees that your nephew and his wife will never get to know her. However, you cannot, and should not, attempt to control your nephew's guest list by threatening not to attend if your daughter isn't invited. If you would feel uncomfortable accepting the invitation under these circumstances, send your regrets on the RSVP card. If you are asked why you won't be coming, feel free to express yourself then.
DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship for almost a year. We connected in a way I have never felt before, and I tried to stay away from him. He's married, and his wife was diagnosed with cancer last year.
I have tried to end things three times so he could focus on his family. But he keeps coming back to me and begging me to wait, give him time and not abandon him. I feel so guilty for the things I want from him because of his wife's condition.
I don't know what to do. I want to be with him. But I don't want to cause his family to struggle more on top of everything else. Please help. -- DIFFICULT SITUATION
DEAR SITUATION: If you are sincere about not wanting to cause this man's family more pain, step away now. His wife should be the focus of his attention. If this relationship is the real thing, it can be restarted when he is free from the responsibility he assumed when he promised "until death do us part."