Dear Abby: I’m 16 and have a 13-year-old sister. Our parents are divorced, and we live with our mother. We used to see our dad on visitations every other weekend, but he moved away, so now we see him for 2 weeks in the summer and 1 week during Christmas. We talk to him a lot and have a good relationship. We’re scheduled to visit him soon.
Dad lives in a one-bedroom apartment and when we’re there, he lets us stay in the bedroom and he sleeps on the couch. He has just told us he is “coming out of the closet” and has a partner who is living with him. They plan on getting married now that it’s legal. When I asked him what the sleeping arrangements will be, he said he hasn’t figured it out yet, but will work it out.
We’re really not surprised to find out that Dad is gay, and we can accept that. But we’re really uncomfortable about spending 2 weeks in a one-bedroom apartment along with his partner when we don’t even know what the sleeping arrangements will be. We’d like to find a way to get out of the visit, but we don’t want to hurt our dad, and because of the visitation agreement, he has the right to have us for 2 weeks every summer. What can we do?
– Uncomfortable in California
Dear Uncomfortable: Of this I am sure, your father and his partner will welcome you with open arms and do everything in their power to show you a good time. You and your sister should go and try to be gracious guests. I agree, the space may be cramped, but it’s only for 2 weeks. After they marry, they may move to larger quarters.
If you don’t enjoy the visit, keep in mind that in 2 years you will be 18 and no longer “obligated” to spend 3 weeks with your dad. But if you give this a chance, you may be very pleasantly surprised, so think positively.
Dear Abby: My father-in-law is considering having my two precious little girls’ names tattooed on his arm. I’m not a fan of tattoos and would prefer my daughters’ names not be displayed in this manner.
Do my husband and I have a right to ask him not to do this? Our history with him hasn’t been the most pleasant because he can be manipulative and hard to deal with. I’m afraid if we tell him we are opposed, it will encourage him all the more to get the tattoo.
How should we approach this without causing a ruckus?
– Against It in Oklahoma
Dear Against It: You can offer your opinion, but there is no way you and your husband can control what he does with his body. Because the subject already has come up for discussion, it would not be rude to raise it again and explain nicely that if he hasn’t done it yet, you would prefer the girls’ names not be displayed that way.
Of course, the decision is his to make, and while it may not be to your liking, I’m sure your father-in-law considers it to be a loving gesture and a sign (literally) that he’s proud of his granddaughters. If the tattoo already has been applied, then please, for the sake of family harmony, try to view it from that perspective.
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