Dear Annie: After my mother died, my father married a woman he found online. She only visited us once in person before she moved in and they got married. She wasn’t always the nicest, and honestly, I was scared of her. She’d even “jokingly” call me Cinderella when she wanted me to do tasks around the house for her. I was an adult in therapy before anyone told me this was emotional abuse. Thankfully, this woman is long gone from my life (and my father’s life).
I know people are only responsible for their own actions, but is it wrong of me to want an apology from my father? I’m still hurt that he never apologized for not protecting me more. I was a child, and he put this woman in a position of power over me. Should I ask for an apology? Should I let it go? — Still Hurting
Dear Still Hurting: I’m sorry that you lived through that. It’s not wrong of you to want an apology from your father, but asking for one point-blank might not bring the satisfaction that you would hope: If he apologizes, you might feel he only did so because you asked him to. If he doesn’t, you’ll be angrier than ever. You absolutely should express to him how this hurt you. It might help to write your feelings down in letter format first so that you can make sure to cover everything. Remember that your father is flawed like all humans, and he may not react the way you’d like. But speaking your piece can bring some measure of peace.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Vexed by the Ex Texts,” who didn’t like that her husband still regularly spoke with his ex-wife. My husband and I are in our 70s, and we both have children from previous marriages. We both have a very friendly relationship with his ex-wife and her current husband. We socialize at family gatherings in celebration of our children’s accomplishments and our grandchildren’s. We are “friends” on Facebook. Our relationship with his ex has made it possible for our children to be friends, for his children not to have to decide who to spend time with and for family gatherings to be fun. Plus, we just enjoy being together. We feel blessed to know one another. — Blended Family
Dear Blended: What a beautiful relationship. Thanks for your testimony to how we expand our hearts and worlds whenever we choose love over bitterness.
Dear Annie: You provided great advice to “Couple in a Conundrum,” who found themselves in a sticky situation when a friend confided in them regarding her credit card debt, which she was hiding from her spouse. I would also like to suggest this woman in secret debt look into Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace classes. This program provides excellent advice, and the couple who wrote to you could perhaps offer to pay for the friend and her spouse. This could provide real solutions for them to not just tackle one financial issue but also bring about substantive changes in how they deal with money and get a handle on their money issues. — Janet S.
Dear Janet: Thanks for the tip. There are also free debt-management courses available online, including the free Alison.com class entitled Introduction to Managing Your Personal Finance Debts.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.