Dear Abby: My wife of six years was recently arrested for wire fraud, involving the receipt of unemployment benefits. She was receiving money when she should not have been. I knew she had applied for benefits since she was laid off; however, I was not aware that she was falsifying documents in order to receive the benefits.
I feel hurt, betrayed and offended. I am a retired law enforcement officer and currently an independent fraud investigator. Our relationship had been on the rocks for some time prior to this humiliating event. How do I handle this mess?
Dear Betrayed: The first thing to do is realize that your wife’s indiscretions are a reflection only on her character, not yours. Then let the law take its course, and once you have cooled off, decide rationally if you want to continue a marriage that has been “on the rocks for some time.”
Dear Abby: Before my daughter turned 18, she followed the court’s visitation specifics, as her brother does. Now that she’s 18, she doesn’t call or come over at all. She won’t answer phone calls, so I text her. She’ll respond with one-word answers — “yes,” “no,” “maybe.”
It doesn’t bother me that she chooses to live this way. She’s an adult. I sent her money for her birthday. She didn’t acknowledge it. If I text invitations to her, I still don’t hear from her.
She doesn’t go to college, doesn’t drive, doesn’t have a job and lives off her enabling mother. According to her brother, she plays video games all night and sleeps all day.
After her birthday silence, should I continue sending her money for occasions? The lack of respect makes me think not, but my love for her says I should. Is there a lesson to be taught, or do I continue dropping a check in the mail twice a year? The money is insignificant. Learning respect, I believe, is important.
In Battle Creek, Mich.
Dear Dad: It doesn’t bother you that your daughter chooses to live this way? That she doesn’t work, doesn’t go to school, plays video games all night and sleeps all day? Is she on drugs? Suffering from severe depression?
Your daughter’s behavior is not normal. You have described a young woman in serious need of counseling to bring her back to reality. If you love your daughter, forget the etiquette lesson and help her to get the psychological help she needs.
Dear Abby: When I was 17, I was checked into a psychiatric hospital for severe depression and a suicide attempt. While I was there I met “Jim,” a boy who was there for the same reasons. To make a long story short, we kept in touch and now we’re dating. We benefitted from the experience and are good for each other.
The catch is that he lives more than an hour away from me. We see each other frequently, but friends often ask how we met and we don’t know how to answer the question. Generally, we say something vague about how we have known each other for a long time, but some people continue to press. Neither of us wants to advertise that we spent time in a psych ward. How can we gracefully sidestep the question?
Dodging the Question
In the U.S.A.
Dear Dodging: It is difficult to sidestep a question that is asked so frequently in the course of conversation — especially if a couple seems compatible. Because you would rather not be specific, just say you met in a teen counseling group a few years ago. It’s the truth — you were being counseled.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069