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Daughter wants to shield kids from grandma

Dear Abby,

My mother and I were close growing up. However, when I was in college she abandoned the family (my siblings were in high school and elementary school) for her much younger boyfriend.

Since then, our relationship has been strained, particularly since I learned she used to tell her then-husband she was visiting me when she was carrying on her affair. After that, I learned about additional lies she had told me throughout my childhood.

I’m married now and have two young children. Until a year ago we lived in the same city. Mom never came around much because she was preoccupied with finding new boyfriends to support her. She has since moved out of state and stalks me on Facebook, harassing me to get Skype so she can talk to my children.

My mother has never apologized for her actions to anyone and thinks we should just “get over it.” Because so much has come out about her, I want to protect my children from being hurt by her the way I was.

I can’t tell her outright that I don’t want much to do with her for fear it will send her into an “episode,” and I don’t want my kids caught in the crossfire. If I try to sugar-coat what needs to be said, she won’t get it. What should I do?

– Frustrated Daughter

Dear Daughter,

Frankly, you’ll save yourself a lot of grief if you just tell your mother you’re not getting Skype and the reason why, and let her have her “episode.” As a parent, you have every right to insulate your children from anyone you feel might be a negative influence – and that includes their grandmother.

Dear Abby,

I have been dating my boyfriend for more than a year and we are considering marriage. I am 23 and have never been dissatisfied with the way I look.

The other day he told my friend that when we get married and become financially stable, he would pay for a boob job for me. I’m offended, mostly because I don’t want one and don’t think I need one. Do you think this speaks to his character (or lack thereof)?

– Not Going Under

in Louisiana

Dear Not Going Under,

No, I think it speaks to the degree he assumes he can control or make choices for you. That he would say something like that to one of your friends without having discussed it with you is rather disconcerting. I don’t blame you for being offended.

Dear Abby,

I operate a small Internet radio station out of my house in Texas. I play music 24/7, except on Saturday nights when I usually do a live talk show. A topic I raise every year coincides with my birthday. I announce to all who are listening that I have designated this day as Mind Your Own Business Day.

On this day, my listeners are reminded that if they disapprove of someone’s choice of mate, clothing, religion, favorite music, pets – and anything else that may be personal and nobody’s business – to keep it to themselves.

Would you be willing to mention this in your column and help me spread the word that while everyone has a right to an opinion, it doesn’t mean everyone should be forced to listen to it? Thanks in advance.

– Jim in Texas

Dear Jim,

Not only is your message succinct, your idea has merit. If more people followed your philosophy, it could eliminate a lot of conflicts, not to mention headaches.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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