DEAR ABBY: Is it a problem that my doctor is a bit of a flirt? I had a procedure recently, and when it was completed, the doctor announced, “All set!” My reflexive response of gratitude, relief and optimism that the procedure would help me was, “Beautiful!” Doctor’s response to that was, “Just like you.”
Now, that could mean “Just like you to respond that way,” or it could mean, “You are beautiful.” I don’t mind either way. But is this a problem that should be noted somewhere? It’s not the first flirty-type double-entendre. — DON’T MIND BUT OTHERS MIGHT
DEAR DON’T MIND: If the compliment was followed by anything else that made you uncomfortable, you should have spoken up and told him so. He may have meant that you are a beautiful person rather than any physical attribute. Or he may say something similar to ingratiate himself to all his female patients. Bottom line: If you feel you must be on guard with your doctor, pay attention to your intuition and find another one.
DEAR ABBY: I have three grown children living in my house — my son, 27, and my daughters aged 27 and 23. All three have boyfriends and girlfriends who occasionally sleep over. My son’s girlfriend sleeps in his room, while my daughters’ boyfriends sleep on the couch. The girls are now asking for their boyfriends to sleep in their bedrooms. I know they are not babies, but I’m not comfortable with it. What’s your thought? — UNCOMFORTABLE DAD IN NEW YORK
DEAR DAD: As you stated, your children are all adults. I find it interesting that you have allowed your son to do this while denying it to your daughters. If ever there was an example of the double standard, this is it.
Of course, the bottom line is that this is your house, and you get to set the rules. Before you do that, look into your heart, figure out what is making you uncomfortable and have a frank discussion about your feelings with all your children.
DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing a widower for two years. His wife died 2 1/2 years ago. His children don’t care for me — not because of me personally, but because someone is now in their father’s life other than their mother.
The kids are going to have a combination birthday party and anniversary party for their father. If his wife hadn’t died, this would have been their 50th anniversary. Is this normal? It seems awkward to me. Are they doing it because I’m going to be there? What should I do? — UNEASY REPLACEMENT IN MICHIGAN
DEAR REPLACEMENT: What the kids are doing is bittersweet, and I understand the impulse. I surmise that their father will experience mixed emotions about it. This isn’t necessarily being done because you are in the picture; it may be an attempt to keep their late mother’s memory alive (without taking your feelings into account). Attend the party, be gracious and warm to everyone, and do not personalize it.
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.