Dear Annie: I am 31 years old and divorced with two kids. My mom has always been supportive. She helped me out immensely over the years, and I am very appreciative. I have paid her back whenever possible.
The problem is, the last time my kids and I stayed with her, her boyfriend’s 13-year-old son slept over and there was inappropriate sexual contact with my 6-year-old son. Law enforcement was contacted, but to date nothing has materialized in the way of a case.
We spoke with a counselor, and things seem to be improving with my son. But I told my mother that while I hope the 13-year-old gets help, I cannot have my children around him ever again. She said she understood and asked that we keep the issue under wraps. As time passes, however, I see that my mom is favoring this boy. She has many photos of him on her Internet profile and very few of her grandchildren. She spends most weekends with her boyfriend and his son. When the kids and I go to her house, the boy is often there, so we leave.
Recently we attended a function at my sister’s college, and Mom brought her boyfriend and his son, knowing my children would be there. When we didn’t sit near them, she told my sister it was because my ex-husband was with us. She also made a comment to me insinuating that I had coaxed my son to make up lies about the inappropriate contact.
She complains to my sister that I don’t call her anymore. I feel hurt, betrayed and confused. Should I cut off contact? – Betrayed Daughter
Dear Betrayed: It’s time to make it abundantly clear to Mom that your children’s well-being comes first, and that if she chooses to put her boyfriend’s son above her grandchildren, contact with the kids will be limited or nonexistent. We hope that boy is getting competent professional help. Also, should your sister ever have children, you must tell her the truth for their protection.
Dear Annie: I care quite deeply for my close friend, “Cara.” She is aware of my sentiments, but is currently seeing someone else. On occasion, she asks me for relationship advice, which I freely give because I want more than anything else for her to be happy. But when she hints that her relationship is going less than smoothly, I find myself wishing I could be the one to make her happy.
Do you have any advice? – Dispirited in Dixie
Dear Dispirited: If you know Cara has no romantic interest in you, your best bet is to focus your attentions on someone else. Get out there and meet some new people so Cara has less power over your heartstrings.