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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

‘I could have done better’

DEAR READERS: On Dec. 6, I published a letter from “Lost in Louisiana,” whose daughter’s fiancé canceled their wedding three days prior to the event “because she’s bisexual.”

The parent was worried about her daughter’s new choices in female partners and upset that she had lied, and requested her daughter not bring these women around. After responding to the letter, I heard from members of the LGBTQ+ community — in particular, bisexual people — saying I “could have done better” with my response.

I have since learned that the bisexual community is the largest segment of the LGBTQ+ community, the least visible and the most misunderstood.

This has contributed to perpetuating the myth that bisexuality is a halfway point between straight and gay, a “stepping–stone” to people coming out as lesbian or gay, or an identity people claim in order to deny being lesbian or gay. Not true. Being bisexual simply means that the person has the capacity to be attracted to people of different genders. And because one is bisexual does not mean they cannot be monogamous.

I regret that I didn’t point out to the parents that their unsupportive response may be a reason their daughter had not come out to them as bisexual earlier.

Further, I could have suggested that to become a safe, loving and affirming presence for their daughter, they educate themselves about bisexuality. If they do, their daughter may be more open to hearing their concerns about her choices in partners, which is less about the gender of those partners and more about their treatment of their daughter. — LOVE, ABBY

DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law on my wife’s side stayed a week and a half with us in Florida. I love her very much, and we all had a lovely visit. She has stayed with us before, alone and with my brother-in-law. We welcome them with open arms. Family means a lot to us. 

Now to the problem: After she left, I found an envelope with a thank-you card and $200 in it. I feel insulted, as they are always welcome here. We are not a B&B. This is the first time something like this has happened. We have a nice home, but my wife was complaining about money issues in front of our company. We are going through a rough patch at the moment, but we are not broke or destitute. Compared to us, my in-laws are wealthy. 

My ego is bruised. We are better off than most people and are blessed with all we do have. I want to send the money back with a gracious thank-you note, but my wife says no. I am angry with her as well. Was she out of line for not keeping our money situation private? — FUMING IN FLORIDA

DEAR FUMING: Please don’t be angry about the gift, which was given with love. Write the sister-in-law a gracious thank-you note, keep the money and tell her she doesn’t need to give you more because your situation isn’t dire. I don’t think your wife was out of line — I think she was simply chatting with her sister when she made the remark. 

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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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