Teenagers’ breakup puts parents in awkward spot

Published 8:44 am Tuesday, August 9, 2022

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DEAR ABBY: A couple of weeks ago, my 17-year-old daughter broke up with “Matt,” her boyfriend of a year and seven months. My husband and I are sad because Matt had become a part of our family. We included him in vacations and holidays with us. We also became friends with his parents and shared a couple of holidays with them.
I have not communicated with them since the breakup, and I feel horrible. I’m not sure what’s proper etiquette in this situation. Should I reach out to Matt’s mom or just leave it alone? I don’t have hard feelings toward them, but then again, my daughter broke up with Matt and not vice versa. Let me know what you think. — BROKEN UP OVER BREAKUP

DEAR BROKEN UP: Young love doesn’t always last forever, which can be a good thing. I see no harm in waiting a few more weeks until things cool down and then reaching out to Matt’s mother. Tell her you are sorry about the breakup and hope it doesn’t spell the end of your relationship with her, which you have very much enjoyed. Her response will tell you if she feels the same.
DEAR ABBY: We are a couple, married for 46 years. Of course, one of us will be passing on in the future. If my husband goes first, I’m unsure about how to handle any services for him. He has narcissistic personality disorder and, over the course of our marriage, he has made my life a living hell. I have grown to despise him.
I need to be respectful of his children and friends. Only a few close women friends know the situation. I want to have a proper remembrance for them that won’t involve too much of my presence. He will be cremated per his request. Can you suggest how I should handle this? — CAREFUL IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR CAREFUL: Discuss this with the person who will officiate at the memorial service when the time comes. Be as active a participant as you would like. Leaving the eulogizing to the people who loved him — his friends and children — is your privilege.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter is 38 and still can’t forgive me for being an alcoholic when she was young. Will I never be forgiven? I have had my drinking under control for six years now. What else can I do? I don’t want to leave this world and not be good with her. It’s killing me. I need my baby girl back. — SOBER MOM IN KENTUCKY

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DEAR MOM: You didn’t mention what personality changes you experienced when your daughter was young. Whether you were abusive or emotionally absent, the truth is she “lost” her mother during that period. You may need your baby girl back, but that baby is long gone. If you are not in AA, you should definitely attend some meetings to see how other parents cope with their loss.
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.
Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)