DEAR ABBY: My husband of 20 years, "Jerry," recently learned about an old girlfriend's death. A Facebook friend informed him about it. The message arrived late at night while I was sleeping, and he woke me to tell me the news.

He is now receiving condolences from friends that he is responding to as though he were grieving. Abby, the old girlfriend and my husband split up on very bad terms. She not only cheated on him but gave him an STD. I am appalled and feel hurt that this is happening. Friends of mine are surprised and suspicious about it.

Is it normal to send condolences to old flames?

– Deathly confused in Texas

DEAR DEATHLY: It's normal to inform others about a death, but considering the circumstances of the breakup, what's going on isn't "normal." While it isn't unusual for old friends to reach out to each other after news of a death, to convey it in the form of a condolence to an ex-boyfriend after the romance is long over strikes me as somewhat odd. My advice is to remain calm, don't let it give you heartburn and wait for the emotions to subside.

Home for the holidays?

DEAR ABBY: The holidays are approaching, and I suspect many young couples are facing the same problem about where to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have two daughters – one married and one single. The married daughter's mother-in-law has declared that this is "her" year for Thanksgiving, and next year is "her" year for Christmas. She has three sons, none of whom lives within four hours of her home. All three sons have kids.

Don't you think the sons and their wives should decide for themselves if they want to travel for the holidays? They may prefer to spend Christmas morning in their own homes. My philosophy is to plan my holidays and invite my children. If they can come, great! If not, there are no hard feelings. What say you?

Focus on a good time

DEAR FOCUS: As your letter illustrates, not all mothers-in-law are alike. Some are iron-fisted matriarchs who demand obedience from their grown children. Others, like you, are more easygoing. In my opinion, the woman you have described is less disrespectful than overbearing.