DEAR ABBY: My mother recently passed away. She and Dad were married 52 happy years. Over the years, Mom received a few Christmas cards from "Linda," my brother's girlfriend 30 years ago.
Dad found Linda's address and let her know about Mom's passing. Now he says he and Linda have become good friends. Dad says they're "only friends" and Linda is someone he can talk to. We are very upset about whatever relationship they have. My brother and I and our children want to be the ones to comfort Dad and be comforted by him. It has been only two months since Mom's death.
He talks to Linda about everything. They have even discussed the details of Mom's grave marker. Linda says Dad is the father she never had. (Her father is still living.) I confronted Dad about it, and we had a huge argument. Are we wrong and insensitive for disapproving of his closeness with this woman?
— FALLING APART IN TEXAS
DEAR FALLING APART: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your mother. You and your brother and children may want to be the ones to comfort your father (and be comforted by him), but what he may feel he needs right now is someone he can talk to who is not emotionally involved and doesn't need comforting.
You didn't do anything wrong, but please remember that you are all grieving right now, and when people are grieving, their emotions are raw. This situation will work itself out in time, but until it does, please remember that your father can talk to whomever he pleases.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married 13 years and have two children, 7 and 9. About a year ago, my 41-year-old husband befriended an 11-year-old neighbor girl, "Lacey." Lacey is charming, friendly and plays with my children.
I like her and her family, but I'm bothered that she and my husband have a relationship that seems questionable to me and his friends. Lacey texts him daily, to which he quickly responds. They have conversations in our driveway, and they text each other constantly at neighborhood socials even though they're in the same room.
I have told my husband I am concerned and that it may be an unhealthy relationship, but he becomes angry and insulted and says it's an innocent friendship. Others have also voiced their concerns to him because they see the same things I do. On the other hand, her parents think the friendship is innocent.
Abby, am I overreacting? Should I view it as an innocent friendship, or could there really be a problem?
— WORRIED WIFE DOWN SOUTH
DEAR WORRIED: I don't think you're overreacting in light of the fact that other adults are picking up on the "vibes" and making comments. I find it of concern that Lacey doesn't have playmates her own age. It appears she has a crush on your husband, and he finds it flattering and is encouraging her.
While the conversations in the driveway may be completely innocent, the idea that they are texting each other makes me uncomfortable. My advice is to have a frank talk with Lacey's mother and express your concerns, because while what's going on may be innocent, it is not appropriate. The older male figure in her life should be her father.
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.