DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend, “Jana,” and I have been together for 18 years. We live in a small community. About a year ago, a young single guy moved in next door. Jana and “Aiden” took an immediate liking to each other. She’s 64, and he’s 35.
Aiden is on permanent disability, has never had a job and is heavily into drugs. He does odd things like walking down the middle of the street draped in blue lights and sitting in the middle of the street. The police have been called on him so many times he was almost kicked out of the neighborhood.
He and Jana were together all the time — calling, texting and talking in person. They don’t meet so often now because we’ve had so many arguments about it. I was jealous in the beginning. Now I just don’t like her hanging out with him.
She still calls and talks to him, but now she does it only when I’m not around. There doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it. He’s always outside walking around in front of the house. It makes me very uncomfortable. I’d really appreciate any advice you can give me. — ANXIOUS IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR ANXIOUS: Nothing will change until you get to the bottom of why your girlfriend (of 18 years) continues to pursue this troubled neighbor. Could she be trying to “rescue” him? Does she feel motherly toward him and have a need to feel needed? Could she have a crush on him? I don’t know, and neither will you until you calmly discuss this with her in such a way that she doesn’t feel attacked when you bring up the subject. Start now.
DEAR ABBY: My granddaughter (who is in her early 30s) is expecting her first child. This will be my first great-grandchild. When she called to invite me to her baby shower, I asked her who was hosting the event. Neither my daughter (her mother), her father, nor I live in the same state she does. (My thought was to contact that person and offer assistance, physically and financially.) She said she and her partner were hosting the event themselves.
When I said, “But hosting your own shower is in poor taste. Usually a friend, co-worker or family member does the hosting,” she became upset. She said times have changed and if they want to host it they can, which would ensure everything is done the way they wanted. She has been very emotional during the pregnancy.
Anyway, she all but uninvited me to the shower and has dodged my calls since the conversation. So, Abby, AM I behind the times? Has that rule of etiquette gone out the window? How can I repair the relationship, which up to this point has been very good? — MANNERED TO A FAULT
DEAR MANNERED: Many of the ironclad rules of the older generations have fallen by the wayside. The one about who can or cannot host a shower is one of them. Write or email your granddaughter. Apologize for upsetting her and explain that you may need an updated version of your etiquette book. Then offer to help with the shower in any way you can. That’s all you can do. I wish you luck.
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.