Widower dating again wants to leave the past in the past

Published 12:38 pm Monday, October 19, 2020

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DEAR ABBY: I’m 35 and have been a widower for almost five years. I began dating about two years ago.
In my adventures of dating I have encountered a lot of divorced moms. I met someone very special (I’ll call her Rose) a year and a half ago. She’s great. We share lots of laughs and goals, but she does something that drives me crazy. She’s constantly showing me Facebook memories/photos of her daughter when she was young.
I never got the chance to have children and rarely bring up my past because I feel that’s behind me. Rose’s ex is “toxic,” according to her, and from what I’ve witnessed, he’s pretty bad.
I see her daughter two weeks out of the month. The girl is very spoiled and entitled, and when she’s not around, Rose keeps shoving old photos of her in my face and asking, “Isn’t she so cute?”
I can’t relate, and I don’t care for her daughter. Does that make me a jerk? I feel those old photos of her daughter are really her memories with her ex, and it would be just as bad if I showed photos of my late wife and asked, “Isn’t she beautiful?” Am I wrong? — UNPARENT OUT WEST
DEAR UNPARENT: If you plan to continue a relationship with Rose, you are going to have to deal with your feelings about her daughter, some of which may be off base. It is important that you communicate to her the connection you make when you see those photos. The quickest way to work this through would be couples counseling.
If your description of the girl is accurate, then realize that as long as she’s a minor, she will be a presence in your household. If you and her mother can’t figure out a workable arrangement, you shouldn’t waste any more of Rose’s time or yours.
DEAR ABBY: “Ron,” the guy my best friend, “Stella,” is seeing, is a manipulator. My mother was a pro at manipulating and gaslighting, something I recognized after going to therapy as an adult. I know it when I see it.
A month ago, I told Stella what I have observed, and it has escalated to the point that I told her I no longer want to be around him. Ron, who is 40, throws tantrums and threatens to leave when he doesn’t get what he wants.
The last time I saw him was at a dinner Stella hosted. I left early after he threw another tantrum. Ron texted me an “apology” that did not address his behavior that night, but something else that happened a week ago. He then tried to guilt-trip me by saying my walking out hurt our friends and that he would stop hanging around because he didn’t want them to be hurt like that.
I haven’t responded to Ron’s “apology” and haven’t seen him since. I have seen Stella for lunch once since the incident. Must I accept his apology so everything goes back to how it was, or not see my friend until he is out of her life? — NOT A FAN OF HIM

DEAR NOT A FAN: You don’t “have” to accept Ron’s apology any more than you have to accept any other unappetizing “gift” that is offered. But don’t stop seeing Stella. From what you have written, she needs a levelheaded friend right now. If Ron acts up again in your presence, leave if he makes you uncomfortable. And while you’re at it, tell Stella the reason and ask — woman to woman — why she tolerates his childish threats.
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.
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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