DEAR ABBY: My dad started an affair with a woman who is four years older than I am. He met her when he hired her for her "services." Fast-forward a year: He has left my mom. Mom left the state and has moved in with me. She's trying to rebuild her life, but she's still very much in love with my dad.
Dad, on the other hand, is miserable. His girlfriend is controlling to the point that he's not allowed to talk to his children or grandchildren. She's an alcoholic who mentally, verbally, and physically abuses him. He recently left her and came to stay at my house. He told Mom and me that he wanted a fresh start.
Abby, he was here for less than 48 hours and went back to the girlfriend. I am convinced he either has a drug problem or he's sick. He has lost an extreme amount of weight. I have no idea how to help him, and I'm terrified he's going to die.
Now he won't talk to me. He left while I was at work so he wouldn't have to face me. I don't understand why he would come here only to turn right around and leave. I am disgusted, disappointed, and angry. Should I cut all ties with him until he gets his life together?
- Disappointed Daughter
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: Considering what has been going on, your feelings are natural. However, because you are unsure about what is driving your father - addiction, illness, indecision, etc. - do not "cut all ties." Leave the door ajar a little longer.
There's a saying, "It ain't over till it's over." Victims sometimes need several attempts to leave their abusers, and your dad may be no exception.
I have been dating a wonderful girl for about seven months. We're sophomores in college. She's sweet, kind, extraordinarily talented, and we treat each other wonderfully. Everything has been great, with the occasional disagreement.
The problem is that I'm starting to notice that she seems to be homophobic. I was raised in a liberal, open-minded home, whereas hers was much more conservative. She never met a homosexual until college. She has talked about feeling uncomfortable with two men kissing or talking about being intimate.
At first, I thought she'd be equally uncomfortable with straight couples doing the same thing, but she wasn't. When I tell her that I support marriage equality and the LGBTQ community, she gets very quiet and uneasy.
I care for her, but I don't know if I can be with someone who's this uncomfortable about homosexuality.
What do you think I should do? This is a very important issue to me, and I would love your insight.
- Torn College Sophomore
DEAR TORN: She may be a wonderful girl, but whether you are wonderful for each other is open to question. Try to project ahead. If the two of you were to marry, and she was unable to overcome her aversion to gay people, to what extent would it limit your ability to interact with them? Or their ability to have a relationship with you?