DEAR ABBY: My 30- year-old niece passed away, leaving a 7-year-old daughter. Her grieving husband found a married woman two months later. She divorced her second husband, and now all three of them are living together.

Abby, the little girl is not allowed to tell anyone that her mommy died and has to tell all her friends that her father’s new girlfriend is her mom. Is it right to keep her from talking about her mommy?

MARIA FROM TEXAS

DEAR MARIA: Of course not! While the father and his girlfriend might wish to erase the child’s mother from her memory, she is old enough to always remember not only that her mother died, but also that her father and this woman want to bury the fact that she ever existed. That child NEEDS to talk about her mother, and to forbid it will cause problems when she is older. Count on it.

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my wife for a year and a half, and we have an infant child. I work while my wife stays home. My problem is she doesn’t like me playing sports and hanging out with friends.

I have tried to make concessions and cut down playing sports to once a week. (I used to play two or three times a week, but that’s not good enough for my wife.) On game night, when I get home she gives me the silent treatment. She used to come to my games but won’t now, even though she has girlfriends who attend them.

As for hanging out with my friends, I barely see them anymore — and when I do, they come here. If they stay any longer than 30 minutes, it causes a problem and my wife again won’t talk to me for the rest of the night.

I have tried to compromise, but she feels as though any time I spend away from her and the baby is a no-no. Am I wrong to want to play sports and see my guy friends? I have tried talking to her about this, but she thinks any compromise is basically me doing what I want and her having to deal with it.

ONTARIO, CANADA, READER

DEAR READER: You should not become a couch potato or become isolated from your friends because you are married and a parent. And neither should your wife. She may resent the time you spend with your friends because she’s stuck at home taking care of the baby. You are her only adult company, and in a way she may be jealous that you’re enjoying freedom that she can’t.

Your wife should not be doing all the parenting. One day or evening a week YOU should take care of the baby while SHE takes a break with her friends or family.

If you can agree on this, it could save your marriage. If you can’t, then the two of you should get counseling. Marriage isn’t supposed to put people in isolation — and that’s what it appears your wife is trying to accomplish with you.

DEAR ABBY: For the past 10 years, the holiday season has brought with it arguments between my wife and me. We both get along with our in-laws and do many things with both sides of our families. But for some reason, my wife makes arrangements for the holidays without discussing them with me first. This year, she told her mom we would host Thanksgiving and that I would have to tell my family we wouldn’t be coming to them.

My wife’s sisters are not close to their in-laws. Am I wrong to think she should have discussed the matter with me before deciding unilaterally what we’re doing for the holidays? Our kids need to see ALL their grandparents on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Oh — our parents live only seven minutes from each other.

HOLIDAY BLUES IN WISCONSIN

DEAR HOLIDAY BLUES: What your wife did was inconsiderate. You are a couple, and she should have discussed her plan with you before issuing any invitations to see if you were in agreement. If your home is too small to accommodate both sets of in-laws at the same time, a compromise would be to alternate holidays with each set so no family feels excluded.

DEAR ABBY: Is it acceptable to wear a silver dress to a wedding if you are going as a guest and not a member of the bridal party? Or is silver too close to white and therefore taboo?

INVITEE IN COLLEGE PARK, MD.

DEAR INVITEE: The rule is that wedding guests should not wear anything that might distract attention from the bride. If your dress is silver lame or covered in silver sequins, it would be better to dress less conspicuously.

DEAR ABBY: I’m 17 and a few months ago I made the mistake of taking and sending nude photographs to my boyfriend. An adult coworker, “Jim,” got the photographs without my knowledge or permission and showed them to my other co-workers, including managers. Jim threatened to continue showing the pictures around unless I did him a “favor.”

Out of distress, I quit my job, not realizing that managers had seen the photographs. I now know they were aware of the situation, but did nothing. How should I approach the situation? It would be very bad if my parents found out.

FACING THE CONSEQUENCES IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR FACING THE CONSEQUENCES: You now know why it’s a bad idea to send nude pictures, because once they are out of your control, anything can be done with them. While this is embarrassing, you should absolutely tell your parents what happened because they may want to take this matter to their lawyer. Your former employers ignored sexual harassment, attempted coercion and blackmail. If it can be proven, they should pay the price for it.

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com


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