I had given them items that should have stayed in the family, and many of his friends and our extended family gave them a lot of gifts. Shouldn’t those things be returned? She cheated on my son, became pregnant by another man and then waited until the end to break his heart. Your advice would be appreciated. — SAD AND MAD IN IDAHO
DEAR SAD AND MAD: Please accept my sympathy for the very real loss your family has experienced. My question to you would be, how is your son handling this revelation? Is the relationship over, or is there a chance he could forgive her, reconcile and accept the baby as his own? (Some men do.)
If that’s the case, let things stand as they are. However, if he won’t, you should politely ask for the family items to be returned. Rightfully, they should be. Assuming they are in her possession and were given as gifts, she may refuse, and you can’t force her. Be prepared, hang onto your temper and try not to say anything for which you might be sorry later. This is a time for negotiation, not vendetta.
DEAR ABBY: I was raped when I was 13. My uncle was the person who took me to the home of his friend who raped me. After that, my uncle started molesting me. Instead of believing me, my parents believed my uncle’s lies. They blamed and abandoned me afterward. I had to learn about life the hard way.
My dad is dead now, and I don’t associate with my mom or anyone on her side of the family. I always mess up any relationship I have. I love the guy I have been seeing for three years, but I’m still doing the same things that ruined my last relationships. I have a huge problem with trust, even with this new guy. How do I stop acting like this? — NEEDS HELP IN FLORIDA
DEAR NEEDS HELP: Considering your history, your trust issues are a normal reaction to what was done to you by your family. That your parents would believe your abuser instead of you when you told them you had been assaulted is appalling.
If there is a rape treatment center near where you live, reach out to it for help. If there isn’t, and you can’t afford private counseling, contact the county department of mental health and ask to talk to a licensed psychotherapist.
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.