DEAR ABBY: I’m a 35-year-old single mom. I’ve dated a few people over the last seven years, but none of them wanted to commit. Several months ago, I started seeing “Joey,” a friend of a couple of years. He’s sweet, respectful, hardworking, and he helps me whenever I need it.
Joey is on the heavy side, but he’s clean and kempt. I introduced him to my mom, and she continues to say he is “gross.” She refers to him only as “that man” and never by his name. He has always been very polite and has never said anything to her out of the way.
My son and I have lived with Mom ever since my divorce, and I have helped her out with more than my share of the bills and groceries. I’m currently trying to buy a house, but the market is competitive with the low interest rates. I work full time, take great care of my son and do lots of chores around the house.
How can I convince my mother to accept Joey, or should I ignore what she says as long as he’s good to my son and me? — FOUND A GOOD GUY IN THE SOUTH
DEAR FOUND: Nothing you can do will make your mother accept Joey. Most parents judge the men in their daughters’ lives by how they treat their daughters, rather than a number on the scale. Has it occurred to you that she may be afraid your relationship with Joey could develop to the point you will no longer be around to do chores and help her with the bills?
From your description of him, “that man” is definitely a keeper. As long as he is good to you and your son and you care for him, please don’t allow your mother to discourage you. As an adult, it’s important to make your own decisions and live your own life without interference.
DEAR ABBY: My younger sister is a bipolar, narcissistic, psychotic, evil woman with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology and counseling. She has hated me from birth. I know exactly what she is, and she can’t stand that I do.
She spreads lies about me because our mother was alive for my wedding and not for hers and, according to her, it’s my fault. (Mama died 10 years ago.) I made her maid of honor at my wedding and godmother to my child, but no matter what I do, she complains to anyone who will listen about what a horrible person she thinks I am. Because of her education, family members believe everything she says without question.
Our adult lives have been spent with her shutting me out and gossiping about me to extended family. How can I convince my relatives to listen to me? I have no one on my side when it comes to her because the family knows about her mental health issues and tell me to get over it. I can’t! Please help me. — CAN’T GO ON LIKE THIS
DEAR CAN’T GO ON: That your sister has graduate degrees in psychology and counseling does not guarantee that she isn’t mentally ill. Your relatives are aware of her mental health issues and have advised you not to overreact. Perhaps you should take that to heart.
Find another godmother for your child, because clearly this one is unsuitable, and spend as little time around your sister as you can. If necessary, start replacing unsupportive family members with friends you can trust to be supportive. The only thing you should NOT do is continue to allow your sick sister to rule your life.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.