DEAR ABBY: I married “Larry” five years ago, and he is good to me. I have two beautiful grandchildren who are my daughter’s. If I don’t see them once a week I miss them. (They are 2½ and 16 months old.) Larry doesn’t miss the babies or want to see them once a week. Sometimes when they come to the house, he doesn’t speak to them or play with them. He says he wants his peace and quiet at the house.
Larry’s great with the babies in public. He is also good about playing with our friends’ kids. But he doesn’t want the grandchildren to spend the night here because he doesn’t want his sleep disturbed. (He can get up at 4 a.m. to go fishing, though.)
He has two sons and doesn’t mind if he hears from them only twice a year. He’s the type of person who says what he thinks without caring if it’s rude or hurtful. If you don’t like him, he can live without being friends with you. No one comes to visit us at our home.
I miss my family, my daughter and the babies. Do I leave? — UNHAPPY IN THE SUNSHINE STATE
DEAR UNHAPPY: If you are the one making all the concessions, make a list of Larry’s good qualities, and then make one that includes how he refuses to compromise, makes you feel lonely and isolated, and says things without regard to whether they are hurtful to others. Place them side by side, and you will have your answer.
DEAR ABBY: After recently meeting my older brother’s male roommate, a few things occurred that make me wonder if my brother is gay. Whether he is or not doesn’t matter to me, and I don’t feel it’s my business to find out unless he chooses to share it with me.
Although I am a strong supporter of the gay and lesbian community, my concern is that because we were raised in an extremely conservative home, my brother may think I still hold those beliefs and may be reluctant to confide in me. I don’t want to make a wrong assumption about his sexuality, nor do I want to force him out of the closet before he’s ready. How can I let him know I support him, no matter what, without crossing the line? — LIBERAL GIRL IN TEXAS
DEAR LIBERAL GIRL: There are ways to communicate your feelings to your brother without being direct. If you are still in school, consider joining a gay/straight alliance. If you see something in the news about a gay issue, call it to his attention and say something positive. Or, if you think that might make him uncomfortable, how about giving him a hug and telling him how lucky you feel to have him as a brother and that you will love him forever? (Come to think of it, a straight sibling might also appreciate hearing it.)
DEAR ABBY: Does being invited to an engagement party “guarantee” you will also be invited to the wedding? — LOOKING AHEAD IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
DEAR LOOKING AHEAD: Yes, it does. And for that not to happen is a huge breach of etiquette on the part of whoever is hosting the wedding, whether it’s the bride’s parents or the couple themselves.