Grandma weighs her decision to sever contact with daughter
DEAR ABBY: Two years ago one of my granddaughters was molested by her mother's (my daughter's) then-boyfriend, whom they were living with. When the girl's father found out, he called the police and the man was arrested, tried and convicted.
Abby, while he was out on bail, my daughter married him! She doesn't believe the molestation took place. If I were in her shoes, I would certainly believe my 8-year-old daughter over a boyfriend about something so damaging.
I cut off contact with this daughter, as did her sisters. She occasionally calls my husband (who is not her father) when she wants something, and I have received a few texts, which I ignore.
Am I doing the right thing? I sometimes feel guilty, but it angers me that she didn't stand behind her daughter and has made no effort to see either of her girls over the past two years. I see them often because their dad knows I stand with the girls 100 percent. – GRANDMA IN OHIO
DEAR GRANDMA: The answer to your question depends upon why your daughter hasn't seen her children in two years. If it's because their father won't allow it, then her estrangement from her daughters isn't her fault. If it has been her choice, however, then stop feeling guilty.
DEAR ABBY: I need your opinion about my ex-husband and his lack of respect for boundaries. He moved out of our home two years ago, but never changed his mailing address. We have been officially divorced for six months. He feels it's OK to come to our "married house" anytime he wants. We have two teenage children who refuse to spend the night with him.
When he comes to my house, he goes through the mail, opens the cabinets and refrigerators, even goes into my room when I'm not home and watches TV. I am dating someone new and don't feel comfortable with this setup. I'm worried it will cause problems with my new friend, and I don't know how to stop this madness.
We currently have the "married house" on the market, and I want to make sure he knows he won't be welcome in my new home if not invited. How do I avoid conflict with him and my kids? – REALLY DIVORCED IN ST. LOUIS
DEAR REALLY DIVORCED: You should have set clear boundaries the day your divorce became official, but it's still not too late to do so. Tell your ex to notify the post office – and his creditors – of his change of address, and that if his mail continues to show up at your house, after a month it will be returned to the post office with the notation "not at this address."
You should also inform him and your children that you do not want him in your house in your absence. If he doesn't respect your wishes, then change the locks. The time he spends with your teenage children should also be elsewhere. He may not like the fact that you are establishing your independence, but you have a right to your privacy.
TO MY JEWISH READERS: Sundown starts Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. It is the beginning of our time of solemn introspection. I would like to wish you all "Leshana tova tikatevu" – may you be inscribed in the Book of Life and enjoy another good year.
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.