Q. I am 12 years old and I love my grandpa very much. He has been married and divorced twice, and now he is single. He is seeing two women at the same time. One of his girlfriends, “Kathy,” is over 30 years younger than my grandpa! The other girlfriend, “Debbie,” is closer in age. I’ve known her my whole life. Both girlfriends know about each other and don’t seem happy about it.
He brings them to family get-togethers (one on one day, the other on the next), and one or the other of them is always at his house when I visit him. I used to love going to my grandpa’s house, and I still love seeing him, but I do not enjoy seeing the girlfriends every time we hang out. There is a lot of drama because Kathy will call repeatedly or show up when it is Debbie’s “day,” and then there’s lots of slammed doors and crying.
Recently I went to his house to spend the night, which all of the grandkids used to do often. That night Kathy was there, and they were in his study while I was watching a movie. When the movie ended I knocked on the study door, but no one answered, so I opened it and I saw them on top of each other making out!
My dad has confronted him many times, but grandpa does not listen. I know I have no right to tell him not to date them, but all I want is to spend time with him without the girlfriends. Amy, how can I tell my grandpa to not bring them around?
A. You are correct that you cannot tell your grandfather how to run his dating life. You can, however, tell him how his choices affect you. Tell him, “Grandpa, I miss you. It’s pretty awkward for me when one of your girlfriends is always around. Can we do something alone together some time — like the old days?” I agree that your grandfather’s house doesn’t sound like a great environment for you to hang out in.
Q. My brother and his family own a lake house a few hours away from where we live. My brothers and sisters have visited there several times. I have six well-behaved daughters (ages 9 to 23) and don’t get to go on vacation much.
We get along well, but I’m hurt to find I am the only one of our siblings that has not been invited to visit. Is there a way in which I can politely invite our family to visit at the lake house?
A. You cannot politely invite yourself and your six kids to vacation at someone else’s lake house. You can, however, ask your brother if his family would be open to a short visit from you. If the place is within reasonable driving distance, you should say, “We’d love to visit you at the lake and see your place. Do you have a free day when we could come out for the afternoon? We’ll bring food for a cookout if you think that would work.” If your brother demurs, accept his choice.
Q. I disagree with your advice to “Speechless,” who doesn’t want to pay for the damage caused by her daughter dropping a friend’s iPhone.
The phone-dropper caused the damage, and she, or her family, has some responsibility for it.
Her mom should have offered to pay for at least half the cost of fixing or replacing the phone.
A. Several readers agreed with you that “she who drops it, pays.” I believe the iPhone owner’s parents should have filed this episode in the “stuff happens” file.