I have a nephew who is a Level III sex offender. My mom wants him at her house for the holidays, but none of the other family members plan to attend with their kids if he’s there.
Mom insists we should forgive him and can’t understand how people can’t forgive him for molesting children in his family.
I don’t understand how my mom thinks it should be easy for us to forgive, but I feel bad for what she’s going through. She feels like her family is being torn apart. How can I help her understand that I see both sides of it? What should I do?
– Torn Apart
Dear Torn Apart,
Go online and print out the definition of a Level III or Tier III sex offender so your mother can read it. These individuals are considered the most dangerous and most likely to reoffend. While at some point your relatives may be able to forgive your nephew for what he did, to ignore it could be dangerous for their children. Although you didn’t mention the conditions under which he is out of prison, he may no longer be allowed to be in the presence of minors, because if he’s caught, he might have to go back in.
I have been married 40 years. Ten years into it, my wife had an affair with her high school first love, “Will,” that resulted in a child. We raised the boy as our own.
Fast-forward 20 years. She has had another affair with Will and continues to want to stay in contact with him. She insists that she’s in love with me, but says she also loves him and “needs him” in her life.
She will be traveling to her hometown soon and plans to have dinner with him. She insists there will be no sex and that her heart and mind are in a better place. Must I grin and bear this or insist on no contact whatsoever with Will?
– Other Man in
Dear Other Man,
I understand why you would be worried. Where her high school sweetheart is concerned, your wife appears to lack willpower. You do not have to tolerate anything that is painful for you. Because your wife cheated with Will not once but twice, you are within your rights to insist that she have no more contact with him.
My friend just died. I receive only Social Security disability, and I’m poor. I don’t have a suit or dark dress pants, just blue jeans and T-shirts. However, I can afford a dark-colored dress shirt to wear to my friend’s funeral. Is this acceptable attire for saying goodbye to my friend, or would it be better to say goodbye on my own after the funeral? I don’t know his relatives, and learned of his death only today when a family member showed up to collect something I held for him.
– Saying Goodbye
Dear Saying Goodbye,
I’m sorry you lost your friend. If you would like to attend the funeral, by all means do. Funerals aren’t supposed to be fashion runways, so wear whatevewwr you feel is respectful and stop worrying about offending anyone’s sensibilities. People are there to pay respects to your friend. No one should be looking at or judging YOU.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.