Q: I have been with my boyfriend, “Jake,” for a year and a half. To put it mildly, his dad does not like me. He has never thought I was good enough for his son, and he doesn’t like the fact that I have a daughter from an earlier relationship. He thinks I’m interested in Jake only for his money, even though I work a full-time job and Jake and I share everything equally, except my daughter’s expenses. I pay for those myself.
When Jake and I attend family gatherings for holidays or birthdays, his dad refuses to say hello to me. He does, however, make derogatory or negative remarks about me to Jake. It’s incredibly hurtful and demeaning.
I have tried bringing it up to Jake, and he agrees. But he will not address it with his dad because “Dad won’t change.” Can you help? — Disliked in Massachusetts
A: I don’t know how serious Jake is about you, but if he was in love with you and planned on marrying you, he would INSIST that, at the very least, his father treat you with respect. Dad won’t change because his son isn’t assertive enough to make plain that if he doesn’t, he will be seeing less of the both of you.
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I can only hope that your child isn’t on the receiving end of this kind of treatment, because if that’s happening — for both of your sakes — I’m advising you to end the romance with Jake.
Q: I have been married to the love of my life for 21 years. He has helped me raise my two children to adulthood. Both have now moved away and have their own lives.
My problem started a year and a half ago, when my grandson was born. I live 750 miles from my daughter and her little boy and have a standing invitation to see them as often as I want (every three to four months). It makes more sense for me to travel to see them than the reverse.
I have always invited my husband to come with me, but he refuses. He has now given me an ultimatum: I can see them no more than twice a year or he will divorce me. What do you say, Abby? — Dumbstruck in Maine
A: I say you have three choices: either work this out with the help of a marriage counselor, see your daughter and grandson only twice a year or start talking to a lawyer. I have a strong hunch there’s more going on here than you have revealed in your letter, and whether or not your husband agrees to counseling, you should go.
Q: I am an older woman who has been dating a very nice man for approximately seven months. I’m fashionable and take pride in my appearance. While my friend is clean and neat, he wears a baseball cap with all of his clothes, even his dress suits. I bought him a nice cap once and he was offended, so I returned it to the store.
Since he is good in so many ways, should I ignore this one quirk? I’d love to see him without the baseball cap when we go out. — Fashionable in Pennsylvania
A: Have you tried asking him WHY he does this? Your friend may wear baseball caps with every outfit because he’s bald or has thinning hair and is self-conscious about it. (Many men are.) If this gentleman has only one quirk that bothers you, you might be wise to consider that his attire is a reflection only on himself and not you.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.