Girlfriend notes change in man’s talks with ex

Published 10:34 am Tuesday, July 6, 2021

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DEAR ABBY: I am dating a slightly older divorced man. He and his ex-wife have been divorced 15 years. They remain civil. Their two children are now adults. Recently, a friend of my boyfriend and his ex passed away. They spoke on the phone, caught up a bit and that was the end of that.
Another tragic event happened last week that caused them to talk again. Early in our relationship, he told me he and his ex don’t really communicate unless tragic events or things involving the kids come up. However, there has been an increase in dialogue between them beyond these events. It seems odd to me that out of the blue their communication has increased. Granted, it was sparked by unfortunate events, but while those have come and gone, the talking remains, even though it never used to. Should I be concerned? Should I bring this up? — EX ISSUE IN NEW ENGLAND

DEAR EX ISSUE: I am sorry you didn’t mention how long you and this man have been seeing each other. If your exclusive relationship has been going on longer than six months, you are within your rights to point out that this is a change in his pattern of behavior and ask him what’s up.
DEAR ABBY: My mom and I haven’t been close in 20 years. We live on opposite sides of the country, talk monthly and FaceTime on holidays. She has abused alcohol for years, and has gone through phases of phoning me drunk and berating me for leaving our hometown. Recently, she’s been saying she wants me to visit, but she is anti-vax. I’m not comfortable visiting her until she gets vaccinated. Please advise. — STAYING AWAY IN OREGON

DEAR STAYING: I assume you have been vaccinated. If so, and your mother is willing to wear a mask and socially distance during your visit, then you could go. Of course, my response is predicated upon your DESIRE to visit your mother, and from the tone of your letter, I have the distinct impression you would rather not. (And for good reason.)
DEAR ABBY: My mother passed away from dementia in January 2020. When she was diagnosed in 2016, I started keeping all her appointments and anything else important in a journal. During those four years, my life was so involved with hers that writing daily became an outlet for my feelings. I have 11 small journals I still read occasionally, and it would be a shame to throw them away. Please tell me what to do with them. — REMEMBERING IN TEXAS

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DEAR REMEMBERING: The course of your dear mother’s illness must have been painful. The intimate thoughts and feelings you kept in those journals might be of some value to your children, if you have any. Because the writings are of such a personal nature, offer the journals to them. If they refuse, you might also contact the Alzheimer’s Association and ask what others do with these kinds of sensitive documents.
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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