Sister’s memories far cry from reality

Dear Abby: I have a half-sister with whom I share a mother. Her father and my mother were married for almost 10 years. This man, I believe, had some mental issues. He would quiz me about my sexual relations with my boyfriend at the time, wanting details. He would often fly off the handle and argue with my mother for no reason. There are too many other examples to list. Quite frankly, he was a horrible husband and father.

This man died 2 years ago. My half-sister has since immortalized her father into someone he was not. She even tattooed his initials on her wrist.

Abby, how is a person supposed to deal with a relative who is living in fantasyland about a parent? His widow has sent her emails telling her the kind of man he really was, but she continues to act as if he was the world's best father even though he wasn't. – Knows the Truth

Dear Knows the Truth: Either your former stepfather was the greatest father in the world to HER, or your half-sister needs the fantasy she's clinging to for her emotional well-being. Let her have her fantasy if it comforts her. If she raises the subject of good old dad with you, just tell her you'd prefer not to discuss it. If you do that, you'll both be happier.

Dear Abby: I'm 31 and the mother of three awesome children. At 29, I left my husband of nine years and came out of the closet. I have been in a stable 2-year relationship with my girlfriend, and she recently moved in with us.

My oldest child has started asking if his friends can come and stay the night on a weekend. I let one child spend the night with him once. My sister asked me if I had told the child's parent that I'm a lesbian living with a partner. When I said no, she got upset and said that because we live in a small, religious country town I should inform the child's parent of my living situation.

I can see where she's coming from, but I don't feel it's my responsibility to offer this personal information. We're hardworking, law-abiding citizens, and I am a loving and protective mother. We aren't felons who need to "disclose" our personal "crimes." What do you think? – Proud Mama in the South

Dear Proud Mama: I, too, can see where your sister is coming from, and I don't like the direction. You are not under any obligation to announce your sexual orientation to anyone. In a small town – religious or not – word gets around quickly on its own. Trust me on that. However, if you are asked directly, you should be honest.

Dear Abby: Our daughter was married recently. During the wedding or the reception, someone stole money from the purses of at least two of the bridesmaids.
Are the bride's parents responsible for the loss? – Mother of the Bride in Alabama

Dear Mother of the Bride: What happened was unfortunate, and I hope the lesson the bridesmaids learned from this wasn't an expensive one. Unless you agreed to look after the young women's belongings, you are not responsible for the loss. They should have left their purses with someone they trusted or secured in a locked room or car.

As a gesture of good will, depending upon the state of your finances, you might want to make good on their loss. But you are not required to do so.

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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