Aging mother’s daily life doesn’t include daughter

Tuesday, October 12, 2021
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Dear Abby Advice Columnist

DEAR ABBY: I’m nearing 57 and single. My mother, who is 78, lives in the same apartment complex. I always try to talk with her because we don’t have much time together. All she wants to do is watch TV and read the paper. She allows me to talk to her for about a halfhour a day, then she has to go. If I visit her, she can only talk to me for a few minutes. Then she has to put the TV on.

I feel like I must beg her to talk with me. When I approached her about it, she said she’s living her life how she wants to (basically without me). Because of that, I have decided to give up and spend only Christmas and her birthday with her. She probably wouldn’t even notice. If you have any advice, I would like to see it. — HER SAD, HURT DAUGHTER

DEAR SAD, HURT DAUGHTER: I do have some. A half-hour phone call every day may be too much for your mother to handle. That she has to “limit” your calls to 30 minutes tells me you would like them to be even longer. (Every day!) Rather than punish her by distancing yourself and seeing her only twice a year, limit those visits and phone conversations to twice a week. I think it would be healthier for both of you if you find a way to become less emotionally dependent upon your mother. Also, plan some outings away from the apartment complex for you and your mom to share.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together 20 years. In the middle of our living room sits an albatross of a coffee table. My husband’s girlfriend made it for him in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s. I think it weighs 500 pounds.

I am finally redecorating the house and I want this table out of my life, but he won’t hear of it. He says there will be absolutely no negotiating on the subject. I have tried every approach. I feel like I’m second fiddle to his past. How can I move forward without such resentment? — HATES THE RELIC IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR HATES: Congratulations on redecorating your home. Rather than argue with your husband about the albatross, it may be time to rethink how you use the space. Many men enjoy having an area just their own, a “man cave.” Why not create one for him and put his treasured “love gift” in there, where you won’t have to see it? If he gives you an argument, that is the time to tell him you have tolerated having it in the middle of your home for the last 20 years and you have been a good sport about it long enough.

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.

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