DEAR ABBY: I was sexually assaulted by my cousin’s boyfriend a short while ago, and it was hard for me to process. When I told my cousin about it, she acknowledged that it wasn’t OK, but made it all about her. Although we are extremely close, I didn’t get the type of support I was hoping for. In the end, she got back with him, and casually contacts me trying to sweep things under the rug.
I have been sitting on a message for a couple of weeks that I want to send to her, telling her I don’t want to be in contact with her for a while. It’s hard for me, because we’re family. Because nobody knows the whole story, everyone is quick to think I’m the one “isolating” her from my life. What do I do, Abby? — STUCK AND LOST IN NEW YORK
DEAR STUCK AND LOST: The person who assaulted you is a predator, and your cousin appears to be clueless. Inform her that, under the circumstances, as long as her boyfriend is in the picture, you will be keeping your distance because you no longer feel safe around him.
And please, rather than stay silent about what her boyfriend did to you, TELL your friends and family what happened. Contact the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network for support and guidance. (It’s the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the U.S.) The toll-free number to call is 1-800-656-HOPE, or if you prefer, chat online at rainn.org. Whether you were assaulted or raped, file a police report so it will be on record in case he does it to someone else, which he may.
DEAR ABBY: My son and daughter-in-law are divorcing after almost 10 years. We love them both, and the divorce is amicable. They own a home, and my DIL is staying there.
My son is very easygoing and doesn’t need the “finer” things in life. He has a truck. He built a small camper in the back, and there is a camper shell. We have asked him to move back in with us. He’s going to school with about two years to go, and also works a full-time job. They had a fair amount of savings, but he doesn’t want to buy a house right now. He thinks that since he is happy living in his truck, he should do that rather than waste money on an apartment. Rent is very high in our area so I understand, but we have a finished basement that he could live in.
I worry about him sleeping in his truck every night, so I text him every night with a quick note. Am I being too much of a “helicopter mom”? I realize he has lived on his own since he was 19. (He is now 34.) — LOVING PARENT IN UTAH
DEAR PARENT: You have extended the offer. I assume that when the weather turns cold or he needs to take a shower or do a load of laundry, you have let him know that he is welcome to avail himself of your hospitality — and have a nice dinner — anytime he wishes. There are “helicopter” moms and “hell-i-copter” moms. You are neither. You are a loving, caring mom.
DEAR ABBY: I need advice on hot tub etiquette. If I were to invite a nudist lady to soak with me in a hot tub, would it be impolite for me to ask her to wear a mask? — RAY IN NEW YORK
DEAR RAY (OF SUNSHINE ON A CLOUDY DAY): Thank you for writing. If you are unaware of someone’s antibody status, do not invite ANY stranger to get naked with you unless you are wearing a full-body condom, regardless of how tempted you are.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.