Mom wonders why son didn't reveal partner's miscarriage

Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I thought my son and I were close. Recently, I learned that his girlfriend had a miscarriage. I learned about it from an email his girlfriend sent me, and I have also learned he told another relative he's close to about the miscarriage. I called his girlfriend after receiving her email and expressed my sympathy, inquired about her health and told her that I would keep her and my son in my prayers.

My feelings are hurt because I didn't hear about the pregnancy/miscarriage from my son, and he disclosed it to another relative instead. I thought we could discuss anything -- even though we disagree on some things. I want to ask why he didn't tell me and let him know my feelings are hurt because children are family treasures. Should I express how I feel and ask why he felt he couldn't share with me? -- OVERLOOKED IN FLORIDA

DEAR OVERLOOKED: Resist the urge to personalize this the way you have. If you are smart, you will think long and hard -- a few months, perhaps -- before asking your son that question because if there is a problem in your relationship, this will only make it worse. Take this opportunity to work on the things that aren't right in your relationship with your son. He may have had other things besides his mother on his mind when this happened, and may not have wanted or needed to be reminded that children are "family treasures."

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for almost 10 years. He's my dreamboat, everything I ever wanted in a man. Although he doesn't have a history of cheating, he is flirtatious.

My husband fixes computers. Last year, when my best friend's computer wouldn't turn on, he was happy to help. I just found a naked picture of her on his computer. When I confronted him, he confessed he stole it while he was fixing her computer. When I told my friend, she kind of blew it off. ("Men do stupid stuff ...") I don't know if I can trust him again and I feel beaten down. I have been hurt several times before in prior relationships. Abby, what do I do? -- SHOCKED IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR SHOCKED: Your best friend's reaction was unusual. Most women would be mortified over this scenario. Your husband's behavior was shameful. He should delete the photo he stole and apologize to you and your friend for the "stupid stuff" he did. And, because this has damaged your ability to trust your husband, insist on some sessions with a marriage and family therapist to see if the damage to your relationship with him can be repaired.

DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law has a disgusting habit: Whenever I'm starting to cook something with raw hamburger, she grabs a mouthful. I have tried explaining how dangerous it is, but she won't listen to reason. She says she's been doing it since she was a kid (she's 80 now). I've tried pointing out that the meat supply is not the same as it was then, but her response is "it hasn't hurt me yet!" Please advise. -- CAREFUL COOK IN CAROLINA

DEAR COOK: I'll try. Go to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website (fda.gov) and search on "eating raw ground beef." When you do, you will find printable information about the dangers of E. coli, which is most prevalent in raw hamburger and especially dangerous to young children and people over the age of 65. Then give the printout to your mother-in-law and pray she's capable of changing her ways.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 39-year-old woman who has been in a relationship for five years and married for two. Abby, I am consumed with regret for marrying this man. He's loyal and has a good job, but he spends most of our money on food (eating out at work, drinking expensive beers, buying tools, etc.) and he is probably the most negative person I know. His negativity is so overwhelming it has pulled me down closer to his level than where I started when we met.

I feel trapped. I don't want to be single at 40, and I know somewhere in there I love him, so I'm working on my own energy so it won't affect me so much. He just makes everything so miserable with his attitude. He exudes bad energy. He pouts, throws temper tantrums, is rude, condescending, and EVERYONE around him can feel his bad moods. He has only recently started therapy and I want to be patient, but I have this loop playing in my head -- "I hate his guts!" I know it's not true, but I am so resentful and remorseful for marrying him. Is there anything I can do to save my marriage? Is it even worth it? -- SECOND THOUGHTS IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: There is something you can do, and I sincerely hope you will take it to heart. Recognize that "pouting, temper tantrums, condescension and (constant) negativity" is hostile and abusive. I am glad your husband is receiving professional help to improve his behavior and attitude. Now it's time for you to do the same. If you do, it will help you to clear your head and your soul. It will also give you deeper insight into whether this is worth it.

P.S. Saving your marriage will have to be a joint effort. This is not something you can do on your own.

DEAR ABBY: I've been dealing with some emotional stress for well over a year. I've recently found out my wife's ex was much more well-endowed than I am. I understand that's not the most important thing, but it is messing with me mentally. One reason is, a long time ago when she was drunk, she asked me why it was so small. When I came across pictures of him, it all came back.

I feel like we need to talk about it, but I don't know how to start. I know she will get mad and I don't think she would tell me the truth. A lot of things go along with these feelings, which is part of why it bothers me so much. I probably need to just let it go, but it continues to haunt me. We have been married a long time and have had our share of problems. How do I get past this? Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated. -- NOT MEASURING UP IN ALABAMA

DEAR NOT MEASURING UP: What, exactly, is the "truth" you are afraid your wife will conceal if you bring this out in the open? If she thought you couldn't satisfy her needs, she wouldn't have married you. The question I would like answered is where those old photos were when you stumbled across them. Were you going through her belongings because you feel insecure about things other than your anatomy? This does need to be discussed when you are both sober, because if you remain silent, your insecurity will only grow worse. Please don't wait to do it.

DEAR ABBY: I am raising my two granddaughters and trying to allow their mother, my daughter, to visit with them. My problem is, the entire time she is with us, she stays on her phone or Snapchat. Last weekend, I drove to the place where she resides, and the whole time we were there she ignored the girls. I have a ton of family and friends who say I'm wrong for allowing her to even see the girls, period. I don't want to be the bad guy when they grow up. Help, Abby. -- FOR THEIR GOOD IN OHIO

DEAR FOR THEIR GOOD: Either your daughter doesn't know how to relate to her children, which is why she stays on her cellphone when you bring them to her, or she's not interested in creating a bond since she has offloaded them to you. Talk with your daughter. Tell her that if she isn't prepared to actually spend time with her children, you will stop bringing them, and then follow through. Children aren't stupid. They know when someone is interested in them and when they are being ignored. In the end, you won't be the "bad guy" in their eyes.

DEAR ABBY: I am writing because I'm sure other grandparents have faced the same issue as I have. I enjoy sending my grandchildren cards with a small check for special occasions or as a reward for doing well in school, etc. My son and daughter-in-law have a reward system set up with my grandson where he receives an allowance for doing his chores, but has money deducted if he doesn't.

I sent my grandson a small check with his birthday card, but my son informed me that he will be able to keep only $2 of it, because he's in the hole for not doing his chores. I feel the check was a gift and should have been kept separate from the rewards program. Who is right -- my son or me? -- GENEROUS GRAN IN WASHINGTON

DEAR GRAN: I think you are. But since your son and daughter-in-law dictate what goes on under their roof, it doesn't matter what you and I think. The rules are the rules, and your grandson needs to get off his behind and catch up on those chores!

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are snowbirds and head south for a few sunny months every winter. We rent in an active adults community and enjoy all the clubs and sports. Our problem is the number of relatives and friends who invite themselves down for a free vacation.

Unless I specifically call and invite you, I am not interested in spending my vacation -- which is costing me a pretty penny -- making beds, washing towels, cooking much more elaborate meals than my husband and I usually eat and ferrying you around to see the sights. Feel free to rent your own place or stay in a hotel wherever you wish, but please do not include us in your plans. Thank you, Abby, for letting me get that off my chest! -- ANSWER IS NO

DEAR ANSWER: You are welcome. That's what I am here for. But you are venting to the wrong person. This is something you should express to each of the friends and relatives who think they can continue to impose upon you. Who can blame them? They thought your silence was consent.