DEAR ABBY: I was in a mentally and physically abusive relationship for 19 years, until I finally found the courage to take our daughter and leave. Afterward, I met the man of my dreams, and we married. We were together for 30 happy years.
After his death, I sold everything and moved to another state to be with our daughter. Living with her is a financial advantage for her as I help with the rent, utilities and groceries. I do have my own private space in the house.
Her father is now ailing, and she wants to move him to a nursing home near us, which is fine with me. However, she wants to have him over for special-occasion dinners. I am extremely uncomfortable in his presence. I have told her I would make plans to be out of the house at those times. My daughter feels I should stay and suck it up because the holidays are for “family.”
I don’t want to ruin holidays for her and my granddaughter by not being there, but I also don’t want to be in the company of the man who made my life miserable for all those years. Please help. — SURVIVED IT IN THE SOUTH
DEAR SURVIVED: You should not be required to celebrate any holidays with your abuser in order to fulfill your daughter’s fantasy of a happy family. If she was old enough to recognize what was going on, she should know better.
Tell her again that when you finally found the strength to leave your abuser, you promised yourself you would never have to be in his presence again and you are keeping that promise. Tell her nicely that you hope they will have a happy whatever-the-occasion-is, and you will arrange to celebrate it with her and your grandchild on a different date.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married 28 years. I love my husband, but one thing really bothers me. I have told him time and time again, to no avail. We have two small dogs that he insists sleep in our bed every night. I reminded him again last night that it bothers me, and asked if he would please put them in their dog beds. He said it was too late because they have been in our bed for 10 years.
If I suggest that I sleep in the guest room, my husband gets upset and sulks. Not only do those dogs disturb my sleep as they move around and growl, but I smell like a dog until I take my morning shower each day. I work a full-time job, and he recently retired. Any advice would be appreciated. — DOG TIRED IN FLORIDA
DEAR DOG TIRED: You say your husband has recently retired, and his solution to a disagreement is to sulk. Well, batten down the hatches because it’s time to finally draw the line and insist he respect not only your feelings but also your health.
Lack of restorative sleep can cause any number of health problems as well as household and car accidents. Because he can’t bring himself to put the dogs where they belong, treat yourself to a solid night’s sleep in the guest room, and do not allow yourself to be intimidated.
P.S. Those dogs need to be bathed more often. Now that your husband is retired, he should see that it gets done.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.