Mom fears history will repeat for daughter marrying young

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced for 18 years. The main reason for my divorce was that I married too young and wasn't ready to be a wife and mother. My daughter has just announced her engagement to a truly wonderful man, but she's only 19. I want to support her, but I'm afraid she's making the same mistake I did. I have tried talking to her about it, but she is sure she is making the right decision.

I am tight on money now, and I don't want to pay for an expensive wedding if it's going to be a waste later on if my daughter gets a divorce. But I do want to be by her side and support her during one of the most important times of her life. What should I do? -- EXPERIENCED MOM

DEAR MOM: Your daughter already knows you're concerned about her marrying so young and the reasons why. Ultimately, this is her decision -- or mistake -- to make. Explain that you won't be able to contribute financially to her wedding because money is tight right now, but that you are there to support her emotionally now and forever. Tell her, too, that many successful marriages begin at a courthouse, and you wish her better luck than you had.

DEAR ABBY: My wife of 38 years passed away a year and a half ago. My ex-wife, to whom I was married for 14 years, and who is the mother of our adult kids, is single again after four failed marriages. She's making overtures about getting together again. She is assertive, likes to spend and was very jealous.

At my age, I could use the help, but it would require selling my house and moving several states away. She's really pushing, but I'm just not sure. It would be nice to have someone around because I am lonely. She is a neat lady, but I just don't know. Help! -- PROPOSITIONED IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR PROPOSITIONED: Surely you can find someone to fill your loneliness other than a woman you divorced for at least two solid reasons. I have four words of advice for you: When in doubt -- DON'T! Your common sense is fueling your ambivalence. Please pay attention to it. At most, maintain a long-distance friendship with her.

DEAR ABBY: During a recent trip to the supermarket, I noticed a couple in their 50s who were shopping for produce. The woman picked up eight different avocados before selecting one. (I counted.) The man touched three different bags of oranges before placing one in their cart. This was repeated with each item they shopped for!

I considered asking them to stop touching the food, but I didn't want a confrontation. How would you have handled this? Can you please encourage your readers to minimize what they touch for the sake of public safety? -- CONCERNED SHOPPER

DEAR CONCERNED: I would have handled it by talking about it to the store manager. In California, signs are posted asking customers to please handle merchandise as little as possible, and shoppers are encouraged not only to wear masks and practice social distancing while shopping for groceries, but also to wear gloves.

Once you bring your groceries home, you should wipe them down, and always wash your hands thoroughly for the recommended 20 seconds.

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I lost our son to suicide a few years ago. We have never gotten over it. I have recovered somewhat and would like to resume having intimate relations, but she's not that far along.

I no longer feel there's any reason to continue on this earth. There is no point to my being here. I think about suicide daily. I have been told that if I were going to do this and hurt my family as my son did, I would've already done it.

My wife and I have been cast into a hell that's impossible to bear. There is no way to describe the pain, anger and sorrow we feel. I want to die because I feel the world would be a better place without my sorrowful self taking up resources. I have sought help ever since we lost my son, and have been taking all kinds of medication that I no longer want to take. Is there a way out other than my option? -- BEYOND DEPRESSED

DEAR BEYOND DEPRESSED: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the tragic loss of your son. I cannot imagine the hell you and your wife are going through.

Because you can't get the thought of suicide out of your mind, it is very important that you receive more help than I can give you in a letter. Your doctor should be put on notice about your issue with your medications.

Also, a group that might be helpful for you and your wife is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. If you contact them, they can refer you to a local support group for people who are surviving a loved one's suicide. The website is If, however, you feel you have reached a point where harming yourself is imminent, I urge you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Please don't give up.

DEAR ABBY: I have two children. One is 6, and the other is an infant. My 6-year-old is kind but mischievous at times. I am a firm believer that children need loving parents, but also parents who discipline when it's needed.

My mother recently came to live with me and my husband. She helps out a lot, but she is causing some confusion in our home. She doesn't discipline my 6-year-old when needed. In fact, she often acts like a child herself when she should be acting like an adult. This issue causes my 6-year-old to sometimes be disrespectful.

When my husband and I hear the smart-mouth talk, we address it, but there's only so much we can do when my mother won't take an adult role. I have had several conversations with her about it, but nothing changes. I don't want her to leave, but I'm afraid her attitude toward parenting and discipline will cause some real problems in my home. Please help. -- DISCIPLINED IN VIRGINIA

DEAR DISCIPLINED: Continue the conversation with your mother. Explain that although she may think you are too strict with your older child, you are that child's mother, and this is the way you want the child raised. Then tell her that if enforcing the rules is too much for her, she may have to find other living arrangements. Talk to your child, as well. Make sure he/she understands that the rules come from his/her parents and no one else.

I am troubled by your statement that your mother sometimes acts like a child. I wish you had mentioned why she's living with you. If you suspect there's a possibility she might be experiencing the onset of dementia, insist that she be evaluated by a physician and a neurologist to ensure that she's well.