Niece keeps secret life hidden from her mother

Published 8:56 am Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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DEAR ABBY: My niece, “Amanda,” is 19 and fairly close with my daughter “Hayley,” who is 18. Since graduating from high school and through her first year away at college, Amanda has been going out of town to meet men she meets online. Amanda shares her location with Hayley through Snapchat “in case something happens.” My niece is doing this without letting anyone (other than Hayley) know and often uses my daughter as a cover to her parents.
These aren’t just dinner dates, but usually weekends away from home. Hayley always tells me when Amanda is away. We are both concerned about her behavior, as human trafficking is very real. I have tried talking to Amanda about it, but she insists she’s safe and knows what she is doing. My question is, should I tell my sister (her mom) or not? They don’t really get along, and this will surely make things worse. — AFRAID FOR HER IN IDAHO
DEAR AFRAID: Amanda is playing with fire. If your daughter were walking on a ledge 20 stories above the sidewalk, thinking “she knows what she’s doing,” wouldn’t you want to be notified? Her father should be tipped off as well if he’s in the picture. Someone needs to get through to that girl, who seems determined to put herself in harm’s way.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 60-year-old female. Over the past 10 years, people have increasingly been calling me “Sir” in public. I hate it. I go to the salon to get my hair and brows done and wear feminine attire and shoes. I usually carry a purse, but not always. I have an athletic build, and I do wear T-shirts often (I taught physical education for 30 years). My response is, “My name is ‘Susan.'”
Do you have any other suggestions? It’s making me crazy. This has been going on too long. Today when it happened, I had been ready to make a purchase, but instead walked out of a furniture store because I was so offended. Their loss. — ALL WOMAN IN THE SOUTH
DEAR ALL WOMAN: You are handling these comments as adeptly as possible. The person who addresses you as the wrong gender should be rightly embarrassed when you respond that your name is Susan. Leaving a store rather than making an expensive purchase was also the right thing to do. You should not have to change your appearance if you don’t wish to. You know who you are. Try handling the comments with humor and see if that works better.
DEAR ABBY: My aging father lives hundreds of miles away from me. I try to call him every day, but it feels like my calls are not welcome. I am the only person he has contact with other than his caregivers. Should I keep trying or give up? — DISCOURAGED DAUGHTER IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR DAUGHTER: Do not give up. Is this normal behavior on your father’s part? If it isn’t, he should be examined by his doctor to ensure he hasn’t had a stroke or gone into a cognitive decline. It’s very important you know his health status as well as whether there have been other changes in his life that would account for his behavior. Pay him a visit, if that’s possible. I cannot stress this too strongly.
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.
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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