Q: I’m 17 and the youngest in the family. My dad is cheating on my mom. My mom knows and has even told him she knows he’s having an affair. He didn’t apologize. His response was that he would still meet the other lady.
For the past few months, Mom has been gathering evidence so she can divorce him. None of my other siblings knows. I feel they should, but Mom doesn’t want them to.
I am angry at my dad for making Mom suffer so much for so long. Aside from his hard work ethic, he has never been the father I wanted to have. He hides money and is quick to anger. Everything negative he does sticks to him. What should I do to help my mom, and should I tell my siblings? — Dad Is Cheating
A: You seem to have a great deal of insider knowledge about your parents’ marital difficulties, and it appears that has happened because your mother chose to confide in you. That’s a heavy burden for one so young to carry, and it wasn’t fair to you.
Although you want to help your mother through this, I do not think you are equipped to do more than remain supportive and honor her request not to tell your siblings. She may be handling as much as she can right now without having to deal with more emotional turmoil, and they will find out soon enough.
Q: My daughter, “Jamie,” is in college and has two roommates, one of whom is also her friend. Her friend knows a lot of people in this college town and has much more of a social life than Jamie. Although Jamie always includes her friend in outings, her friend never returns the favor.
I will be going to stay with them next weekend. Should I say something to her friend, in private, about how hurt my daughter’s feelings are? — Hurt Feelings
A: No. As much as you might like to run interference for your daughter, remain silent. The person to explain Jamie’s feelings to her roommate should be Jamie. Whether they can remain close friends under these circumstances is questionable, but for the next year they will have to co-exist as roommates. Do not interfere.
Q: I recently lost my mom to cancer, and my father has offered her engagement ring to me to propose to my longtime girlfriend. The ring used to belong to my grandmother and has a beautiful, high-quality diamond in a yellow gold setting. My girlfriend and I are not fans of yellow gold.
I know Mom would want my girlfriend to have a ring she loves and will cherish. I was told the setting in Mom’s ring is badly worn and the stone is at risk of falling out. Would it be wrong to use the stone and have the “perfect” ring made for my future fiancee? I’m not sure about destroying the original ring. Thoughts, Abby? — Nervous in New Jersey
A: I don’t think it would be wrong. I do think you should talk to a trusted jeweler and take your guidance from him or her.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.