DEAR ABBY: I recently gave birth to our second child, a girl. Shortly afterward, my husband called his mother. She lives in a different state hours away and visits only once a year. When he told her the happy news and our little girl’s name, which we had kept a secret, she became very upset. It seems the name we had chosen, unbeknownst to us, was that of her husband’s mistress from years ago.
For days afterward, she would call my husband crying and pleading with him to change our baby’s name, telling him he should never have kept it a secret. She told him she would never speak that name. A week later, we received a generous gift of baby clothes in the mail from her. At this point, she hasn’t checked in with me, the one who gave birth. She refuses to acknowledge our baby’s name and will refer to her only as “little one.”
I don’t know how to thank her for her generous gift, as normally I would just call her. But it’s clear she doesn’t want to hear from me. Could you please advise how we move forward? -- WRONG NAME IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR WRONG NAME: It was unfortunate that the name you (and your husband, I presume) chose for your daughter was the same as the woman your father-in-law cheated with. If your mother-in-law’s solution to the problem is to refer to her granddaughter as “little one,” accept it. It seems very loving, actually. And when you write her a lovely thank-you note for her generous gift, sign it, “With love from (your name) and “Little One,” which I think is a sweet nickname.
DEAR ABBY: I am a happily married gay man in my 50s. About a year ago, I was contacted on Facebook Messenger by a man in another state, and we have developed what I consider a casual friendship. My new friend has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. He lives with family and requires total care for his mobility and self-care. He has normal cognition, from what I can tell.
I can only imagine how difficult it would be to develop friendships and relationships with a severe disability. I have an active social life and chat here and there with him nearly every day, but I know I’m a much bigger part of his life than he is of mine. He refers to me as his best friend and says he needs his time with me. He doesn’t harass me and is always respectful. He is gay, but closeted, and he knows I’m married.
It is apparent that he is very lonely. I don’t want to lead him on, but I know this relationship is very unbalanced. Is it okay for me to keep casually texting, saying hello and asking about his day? I feel like I’m his only friend. -- UNCERTAIN IN TENNESSEE
DEAR UNCERTAIN: It would be a kindness to continue casually texting, saying hello and asking this extremely isolated individual about his day. But while you are at it, it would ALSO be a kindness to encourage him to open his world and widen his circle of friends by going on the internet and talking to people with similar interests.
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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