DEAR ABBY: I had a baby girl with my longtime best friend, "Adam." "April" is now 3 weeks old. I thought everything would be OK as co-parents because, even though we're not together, we get along and almost never fight.
Six weeks before April was born, Adam began seeing a girl we both knew from high school. The girl, "Jenny," and I have a horrible past. She used to bully me.
My problem with Jenny being around is she's disrespectful. She and Adam argue all the time because she forces things that shouldn't be a problem into becoming a problem. When I visit so Adam can see April, Jenny often interjects her own opinions about my baby as if she knows better than I do.
I recently found out that Adam is planning to marry Jenny. We have been fighting because I don't want her around my daughter. Adam believes it's not fair to push her out of the room when April is around, and that Jenny should be a part of family events reserved for only parents and the child, like taking formal pictures and such.
Am I irrational or crazy? I care about Adam because of our long history of friendship. I did a lot to help him get off drugs and keep his life together, and now here she is messing it up. I told him if he's happy with her, then fine, but I don't want Jenny around my baby. We cannot seem to come to an agreement unless I fold. -- CO-PARENTING ON THE EAST COAST
DEAR CO-PARENTING: You are neither irrational nor crazy. I'm sorry your relationship with Adam didn't work out as you had hoped it would. However, if Adam marries Jenny, she will be April's stepmother. It would be unrealistic for you to expect she leave the room when you bring the baby to visit her daddy. In that case, it might be better if you accept the things you cannot change.
DEAR ABBY: My fiance, "Allan's," great-grandfather recently passed away. We lived with him, as did Allan's mother and uncle. Allan was his full-time caregiver.
My fiance's mother is thinking about buying the house and says we should all pay rent to her. I have lived here for six years and I'm comfortable here. The one thing I'm wary about is, if it becomes her house, that she'll start treating us like children.
Allan and I are in our late 20s. I'm not comfortable walking on eggshells, and I'm afraid she will make it clear that we are living in HER house. In my opinion, if people are paying rent, it should feel like their home, too.
Am I being a brat? And once it becomes her house, should I just lay all my worries on the line to her? -- NOT A CHILD IN THE WEST
DEAR NOT A CHILD: You are not being a brat. You are an adult, and an intelligent one. By all means lay all your concerns on the table -- the sooner the better. That way, Allan's mother can either allay them, or you and your fiance can make plans to find another place to live. If his mother needs the income that would come from having renters, she may be less inclined to behave as you fear.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 91. I have outlived many of my longtime friends. In my address book I counted 22 pals whose names I have crossed out after they died. These were people we danced, dined and traveled with. Only five members of the old gang are left, but they've all dispersed. Making new friends is difficult for people our age because we are not out and about as much.
Lonely? Yes, a bit. At holidays, some family members are good at extending themselves toward this old geezer, which I appreciate. When they look up from their cellphones, they discover I have something to contribute. I experienced the Depression, a variety of wars and many new inventions.
Abby, please remind your readers how much we appreciate those who engage us socially in some way. Many of us are past our warranty and won't be available to answer questions much longer. -- OLD GEEZER OUT WEST
DEAR OLD GEEZER: I'm pleased to put the word out. Readers, our senior citizens have much wisdom to offer. They can also be great fun to be around. However, they are a diminishing resource. "Geezer" is right. They won't be around forever, so engage with them while you can. For that matter, neither will some of you when you're their age. Because isolation isn't healthy for anyone, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
DEAR ABBY: How can I get my husband to stop checking out other women in front of me? I have repeatedly told him it makes me feel bad. If I can refrain from looking at other men while I'm in his company, why can't he do the same for me? It makes me feel like I'm not good enough. -- SAD WIFE IN ARKANSAS
DEAR WIFE: Please accept my sympathy. Since you have made clear to your husband that what he's doing bothers you, perhaps it's time to accept that you married a disrespectful, classless boor. While many men look at women other than their wives, most of them do it discreetly to avoid hurt feelings.
Because what he's doing is disrespectful, try viewing it from a different perspective. It's not that you're not good enough for your husband, but rather that he's not good enough for you.
DEAR ABBY: I recently wore a pair of sunglasses to work for the first time and received a lot of compliments on my "style." How can I get my co-workers to stop complimenting me? I have told them a number of times the glasses were prescribed by my doctor to protect my sensitive eyes, and I'm NOT trying to make a fashion statement. It makes me uncomfortable when they say the glasses look "cute" or "work well with my outfit." How do I nicely get them to stop bringing attention to my medical issue? -- WORRIED IN WISCONSIN
DEAR WORRIED: Your co-workers probably mean well, but tell them their comments embarrass you and you would prefer not to be constantly reminded about your eye sensitivity. Then ask them to please stop doing it, and I'm sure they will comply.
DEAR ABBY: My 22-year-old son is going to visit his father and get his third tattoo. I don't like it, but I can't control my son. He's an adult. His father is retired and lives on his wife's pension. It is my understanding that they are wealthy.
My concern is for our 14-year-old daughter. My ex thinks tattoos are cool, and when he talks to her via Skype, he talks about the next tattoo he is going to get. I'm afraid that when she's 18, he will take her to get a tattoo as a bonding experience.
His life is far removed from my daughter's. He is surrounded by actors, entertainers and artists. Our child (hopefully) will have a rich, abundant life in an ordinary way. She is focused on her studies and does well in school because of her efforts. How can I impress upon my not-so-confident, shy child that getting a tattoo is not a good idea? -- MARY IN MISSOURI
DEAR MARY: Discouraging your daughter from getting a tattoo should be part of an ongoing conversation. Explain that -- unlike makeup or temporary tats -- the real thing is permanent. Once it's on, there is no going back. It will be there for the rest of her life unless she has it professionally removed. Point out that tattoo removal is not only expensive, but also painful, and her skin will not look the way it did before she got inked -- she will be scarred.
Hopefully, it may make her less susceptible to "bonding" with her father in that way. Ultimately, however, when she's 18 and an adult, she will make her own decision about getting tattooed or remaining ink-free.
DEAR ABBY: My brother and sister-in-law have four children, ages 11, 10, 4 and 3. They are financially strapped and can't afford to take the children to entertainment or cultural events because every dime is spent for essentials.
I'm financially stable and childless. I take the older children to various activities once every month or so. I don't include the younger ones because they are unruly. I feel somewhat guilty for not including them. However, I want to continue doing it for the older children so they'll be exposed to various events they couldn't see otherwise.
Am I wrong for not wanting to be responsible for the younger children, or should I stop taking any of them out to be fair? -- TRYING MY BEST IN THE SOUTH
DEAR TRYING: Explain to the parents, if you haven't already, that you would love to include the younger children, but that you are unable to because of their unruly behavior, which you are unable to control. What you're doing is not "unfair"; it is wise. If you were to take all four and not be able to control them, one of the little ones could be seriously injured.
Think of some other way you can make the younger children feel special. Perhaps taking them to a park occasionally would make them feel less left out.
DEAR ABBY: I have a question. If you are traveling with a group of friends on a plane, is it rude for one couple to upgrade to first class? This was a group trip traveling to go on a cruise together. -- JUST WONDERING IN FLORIDA
DEAR JUST WONDERING: I wouldn't call it a breach of etiquette. However, it's less than an expression of solidarity with the friends who are sitting in the back. Personally, I think it sends a wrong message and could cause resentment unless there's a practical reason the couple needs the extra space -- long legs, a bad back, a weight problem, etc.
DEAR ABBY: I went on a road trip with a friend who is normally kind and generous. She insisted on driving the entire way. She often exceeded the speed limit and kept less than 20 feet between us and the 18-wheel truck ahead.
She read texts, answered her cellphone and made phone calls while she was driving. She's very demonstrative when she talks, so while she drove, holding her cell with her left hand, she'd take her other hand off the wheel to gesture. More than once she nearly hit a guardrail.
I was so frightened I broke into sobs. She responded by laughing at me! Can you give me a tactful way to tell her how dangerous her driving really is? -- TERRIFIED IN MEMPHIS
DEAR TERRIFIED: No, because it's obvious that your friend is in deep denial not only about how dangerous her driving is, but also about how it affects her passengers and other drivers around her. But I can suggest that from now on, YOU provide the transportation if you're going anyplace together. You were lucky this time. The next time it could cost you your life.
DEAR ABBY: One day, I found two bottles of wine under my husband's bed. I told him I had found them and he didn't have to hide wine from me. Yesterday, I found two bottles of beer in his underwear drawer.
This is unusual behavior for a 65-year-old man. He is retired. I am still working. What should I do? -- PERPLEXED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR PERPLEXED: It's important that you find out what's causing your husband to act this way. Notify your doctor there has been a sudden change in his behavior and schedule physical and neurological exams for him. When seniors begin hiding items for no reason, it could indicate the onset of dementia.
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