Advice Columns

Dear Abby: Daughter turned against mom must be set straight

Q: I have a problem with my two younger sisters. Neither one can have children. I have three.

Recently, one of my sisters turned my sweetest daughter against me by telling her I had “abandoned her” when I moved to Ohio with my oldest son and divorced their father. Not true! I left my daughter with my sister so she could experience raising a teenager since she couldn’t have a child of her own.

After telling my daughter I had abandoned her, my sister advised her to tell me she never wanted to talk to me again. My heart is broken. My daughter is very sweet and gullible. She has taken her aunt’s side and says she wants nothing to do with me. This is driving me crazy. Please tell me what to do. — Heartbroken in the Midwest

A: If your daughter is a minor, demand that she return to you immediately. Do it through a lawyer, if necessary, because what your sister is doing is a form of parental alienation. If your daughter is an adult, then ask your other two children to talk to their sister and set her straight.

Q: When a couple is on an airplane in a section with three seats (window, middle, aisle) and a male stranger has the window seat, should the woman sit in the middle seat beside the male stranger or in the aisle seat exposed to all passengers walking by? — Traveler in Vancouver, B.C.

A: When someone makes an airline reservation, a particular seat is usually assigned and the airline expects the passenger to sit there unless the crew is notified and approves the change. There are many variables regarding why a person would want an aisle seat. Among them would be access to the bathroom, a person’s size or a desire for more personal space. If sitting in the middle seat in close proximity to a man you don’t know would bother you, mention it to one of the cabin crew and request a change, or just switch seats with your travel companion.

Q: I’m a retired man who took a community college class. My lab partner was a young woman who was having difficulties attending the class. She wasn’t there for the final exam, and I wondered if she had dropped the course. I did not have her phone number or her email address, but she had mentioned she worked at a nearby bank, so I went to visit her there. We talked for a few minutes and she told me she had actually done quite well in the class.

When I told my wife and daughter about it, they were shocked. They said what I did was inappropriate because of the age difference and she could have gotten into trouble at her job. Abby, they almost accused me of stalking her.

I don’t understand why they considered this inappropriate. Is there a social rule that makes my behavior incorrect? I find it hard to believe someone would get into trouble for talking to a person in the bank at any age. Gender should not be a concern. I would have done the same thing had she been a man my own age. — Am I Missing Something?

A: You appear to be a very nice person. What you are “missing” is the fact that your wife is insecure, and your daughter backed her mother up. You did nothing wrong.

Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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