DEAR ABBY: What do you think about a grandmother getting into a Jacuzzi with her 6-year-old granddaughter? This has caused a big rift in our family.
At a large recent family gathering, my daughter couldn't accommodate all of us sleeping at her home, so some of us rented rooms at a nearby motel.
My son-in-law's parents took my granddaughter “Charise” to their room to spend the night. The bathroom had a Jacuzzi tub in it, and Grandma and Charise bathed in it together. When they told my daughter about it the next day, she became upset because she thought it was inappropriate for an adult to be in the tub with her young daughter.
My daughter's mother-in-law said she was not ashamed of her body and she refused to apologize to my daughter for what happened. My son-in-law has sided with his mother. What do you think?
Shocked in Cincinnati
DEAR SHOCKED: I fail to see what the uproar was about, since the grandmother and grandchild are the same sex and we all come with the same standard equipment. It's not worth causing a rift in the family — so tell your daughter to cool down and stop making waves.
DEAR ABBY: I have a problem with my husband, “Howard.” I moved two hours away from my family, left my job and sold my house and car to be married to him. Now I feel trapped.
We have been married three years. It wasn't like this in the beginning. I'm a housewife who takes care of his mother who lives with us (another story). I can't go anywhere. I'm at home all day, every day, except when his mother needs to go to the doctor. He refuses to get another car because he's “afraid” I'm going to meet someone else if I go out. I'm at my wits' end.
Howard doesn't like my friends — the three that I do have. He has taken church away from me because he believes a husband and wife should go to church together, and he doesn't, therefore neither should I. He's verbally abusive and manipulative. I feel I can't do anything right, and he proclaims to be a perfectionist. Everything revolves around him and his likes, needs and wants.
This is a second marriage for both of us. He admits that he's insecure. I love him, but I can't take this anymore. I want to leave, but I don't know how or where to begin. If I were to go home, I'd have nothing — no home, no car, no job or money.
We have no children together. What is your advice?
Trapped in the Southwest
DEAR TRAPPED: By now you must realize there is no way to assuage your husband's insecurity and need to control. No wonder this is his second marriage. I'm betting it won't be his last, either. Look at it this way: He has a housekeeper, a built-in caregiver for this mother and someone whose every move he can control.
There are worse things than going home, starting from scratch and rebuilding your life. The first that comes to mind is continuing to live in a marriage like this one. So please, pick up the phone and ask your family to come and get you. And if you are afraid that he could become violent, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The toll-free number is (800) 799-7233. They will help you formulate an escape plan.
Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send your name and mailing address plus check or money order for $7 to Dear Abby — Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included.)