DEAR ABBY: My 16-year-old daughter, “Lily,” came home from her father’s very upset. She has trouble sleeping, and I have been taking her to the doctor for tests. Her father told her not to tell anyone, handed her a vibrator and told her that an orgasm will help her sleep. Lily was shocked and embarrassed that he would suggest such a thing and asked me if she could throw it away.
She no longer wants to go to his house but wants me to be the one to tell him. I’m furious that he would use such poor judgment with his 16-year-old daughter. He feels he has an open relationship with her and that I am a prude. I feel what he did was extremely inappropriate, but I’m not sure how to handle it. – Overstepped Boundaries
DEAR OVERSTEPPED BOUNDARIES: Speak up! I agree that what Lily’s father did was inappropriate. Further, he embarrassed his daughter, and he owes her an apology. At 16, if she no longer wants to go to his home, she should not be forced to. The attorney who handled your divorce can make that clear to him.
P.S. If Lily wants to throw her father’s “gift” away, reassure her that it’s her privilege.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 28 years to the perfect man. We married when I was 20 and have three grown children. There are stresses in our life, but they are mostly related to extended family. We never argue. We truly have an ideal marriage.
I work outside the home and have become “friends” with a guy there. I enjoy texting and talking with him. He's single, and he makes jokes and asks me if I’m ‘still married.“ I would never cheat on my husband, who does give me a lot of attention. So why do I do this? – Guilty in the Midwest
DEAR GUILTY: Because you are human – and the attention you are receiving is flattering. You didn’t mention whether your husband is aware of the flirtation. If he isn’t, that may be the reason you feel guilty.
I think it’s time to clue your husband in. If you do, he may not object. However, if he is threatened, in the interest of keeping your perfect marriage perfect, let this friend know that from now on your communications will have to be strictly business.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 65-year-old married man dealing with feelings I have never felt before. During the day, I am reliving bad issues that happened in my marriage 25 years ago, and I am dreaming about them at night. I thought I was long past it. It makes me physically ill sometimes, and I think it’s getting worse. In past letters you have written that you need to move on, tomorrow is another day, leave the past in the past and such. I get it. I want to. My question is: “Where is the switch located that I turn to the off position?” – Martin in New Jersey
DEAR MARTIN: You will find the “switch” you're looking for in the office of a licensed mental health professional. When intrusive thoughts from the past become so overwhelming that they make you physically ill, it’s time to get more help than anyone can give you in a letter or a newspaper. Please don’t wait. Your physician or your insurance company can refer you.
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.