Mom calls the shots in love life of her middle-aged son

Published 9:53 am Monday, February 8, 2021

DEAR ABBY: My husband died 11 months ago, and I thought I was ready to date. I dated a guy I’ll call Ken for six months, but things went south because it felt weird. My question is, is it normal for a 57-year-old man to still be living with his mom?
Abby, Ken’s mom said bad things in front of me. She told her son that if he’s going to have sex with me, he might as well live with me. (We never had sex.) Another time she didn’t want me to wear shorts, hold Ken’s hand or even sit with him at their house. Why? Do I need help? — YOUNG-ISH WIDOW IN ILLINOIS

DEAR WIDOW: A single man living with his mom is unusual, but not necessarily abnormal. Ken’s mother’s behavior, however, was not normal or acceptable. The extent to which this man’s mother controls his dating life is over the top.
Apparently, she perceives you as a threat, and she doesn’t want to “lose” her 57-year-old son. You don’t need help; SHE does. So does Ken, who appears to be her hostage. The tie that binds him to her may be emotional or financial, or those apron strings would have been severed decades ago.
DEAR ABBY: My friend and I are planning a road trip. We live in different parts of the country, so he’ll be flying to my city, where we will start the trip. We plan to split the cost of car rental, gas and hotels. However, I was assuming that he would pay his own airfare, and he was assuming that we would split it like everything else.
What’s normal in situations like this? Is it normal to pay one’s own airfare and expect costs to even out in the future when the other person flies to you? Or is it normal to split the cost each time? The road trip isn’t at risk because of this, but I want to set the right precedent for future vacations we take together. — ROAD TRIPPING IN IOWA

DEAR ROAD TRIPPING: This is something you need to discuss further with your friend. Do you consider his getting there a part of your shared vacation, or do you feel your responsibility begins when he arrives? There are no hard-and-fast rules about this, and frankly, I think it depends upon your financial situations.
DEAR ABBY: My husband passed away unexpectedly. It was and is a tremendous loss to my two daughters and to me.
While writing my thank-you cards to individuals who attended his viewing and church service, I noticed someone had written “Mick Jagger” as attending his viewing and “Rod Stewart” as attending his church service. I was floored and deeply hurt when I realized the handwriting belonged to one of our pallbearers — my husband’s sister’s husband. Our teenage daughters also saw it and told me they thought it was disrespectful.
I don’t know if I should tell my sister-in-law or let it go. I want to ask him why he would do such a thing. Or am I overreacting? — HURT IN TEXAS

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DEAR HURT: No, you are not overreacting. What your brother-in-law did was, to put it mildly, insensitive. A funeral memorial book is the wrong place to attempt a bad joke. By all means tell your sister-in-law about it. And when you do, be sure to mention how it affected you and your daughters. You all deserve an apology for his inappropriate behavior.
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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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