Dear Annie: I was married to my husband for 31 years. Two years ago, he was killed in an accident. I loved him to the moon and back and miss him terribly.
Eight months later, my daughter introduced me to a nice gentleman. He is a sweet man, and we have been seeing each other ever since. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law is upset and bitter because of it. She thinks I did not wait long enough after my husband’s death. What gets me is that one of her daughters just left her husband a couple of months ago, is not yet divorced and already has a boyfriend moving in with her. That doesn’t seem to bother my mother-in-law.
I love my in-laws, but they have to realize that my path in life is changing, and I have to do what is right for me. How do I get my mother-in-law to understand? Do I just leave it alone and live my life? — Confused Daughter-in-Law
Dear Confused: Parents grieve in their own way, and the loss of a child is different from that of a spouse. No amount of mourning would be “long enough” for your mother-in-law. But it is unrealistic and unfair for her to expect you to remain alone indefinitely. Try to bring your in-laws into your new life. Tell them how much you love them and how you will never stop loving their son, but you don’t think he would want you to be alone. Explain that you hope they will always be part of your life. Introduce them to your new man. Be gentle and compassionate, but don’t let them dictate your future.
Dear Annie: While waiting in a line at a deli, a young girl ahead of me was dressed in today’s typical tight, skimpy shorts. She was leaning against the deli case, and I noticed she had a sizable tattoo just above her very clearly exposed rear cleavage. Naturally, I glanced at it briefly and read what it said. I did not gawk or ogle. It was simply normal curiosity.
I was cautioned by a friend who warned me that doing so could be considered sexual harassment. My argument is that when someone essentially has a billboard on their butt, it’s an invitation for others to peruse it. To me, people who have multiple exposed tattoos should expect others to look them over. What’s your take on this? — A Guy in Virginia
Dear Guy: In most instances, body art is intended to be noticed. Discreet glancing is fine. Ogling is not. Staring, making comments, whistling, smacking your lips or touching the other person are definite no-nos. You can look, but do so respectfully.
Dear Annie: “New Sibling” discovered that he had a half-brother and wanted to know whether it was too late to form a relationship over his father’s objections.
After my mother died, I found out at age 42 that I was a child from a first marriage. My stepdad adopted me and changed my name to his. I went on a search and found half-brothers from my biological father’s other marriages. One half-brother thought it was terrible that I was searching, but another of my half-brothers, only five months younger, was thrilled to have a new sister. We have a wonderful relationship.
So, it’s never too late. And I agree with your advice that this is not Dad’s decision. Yes, I’m angry that my birth information was hidden from me and that I never had the opportunity to meet my biological father. My new half-brother and I have often wondered whether any of the wives knew about the others. I have one more brother we haven’t found, and I’m guessing he was also adopted and had his name changed. — California Sister
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.