Kids have to kiss up to 'Sherry' to have relationship with Dad

Dear Annie: I am a single mother of two who is happy in her life, but I have one problem -- my dad's girlfriend, "Sherry."
Last year on Father's Day, my sisters and I wanted to take Dad to lunch. However, Dad insisted we call Sherry and ask her permission, which we did. This did not go over well, and we have been in hell since. Sherry threw a fit and stopped speaking to Dad for nearly three months, even though they were living together. Then she moved out and we thought it was over, but the trouble had just begun.
We now are not allowed to visit Dad when Sherry is at the house. She also began accusing us of stealing things. Dad doesn't want us to confront her. In fact, he won't stand up to her at all.
Dad told me that when Sherry was married to her previous husband, she wouldn't permit his children to see him when he was dying. Dad expects us to just be OK with this. Holidays always have to revolve around her and her family. She has even managed to put a stop to Dad attending my children's school events. Whenever she storms out of the house, Dad keeps going back and pacifying her.
Sherry is making our lives miserable. My sister did some "research" on Sherry, and we have records about her past that are not flattering. But we are scared to tell Dad what we know because if Sherry found out, we'd have no chance at all. I can't take much more. Please help us get our father back. Loving Daughter
Dear Daughter: Your father has decided that his relationship with Sherry takes precedence over the one with you. And he is entitled to have the intimate life he chooses, even if his choice is terrible. If you have information indicating Sherry is abusive or conning Dad in some way, you have an obligation to inform him. But your best bet is to accept that Sherry is part of his life right now. If you can chummy up to her, even if it disgusts you, it could allow for a closer relationship with Dad.
Dear Annie: I'm 13 years old, and my father is in his 70s. People often mistake him for my grandfather, even my classmates. If someone asks about my parents' ages, I try to make a joke out of it. (My mother is in her 40s.) They automatically assume something nasty and ask questions that are very personal and often stupid.
Is there a correct way to tell people he's not my grandfather, and also a way to tell some nosier people to bug off? Upset and Confused
Dear Upset: If people refer to Dad as your grandfather, correct them nicely, saying, "He's my father." If you want to add, "Isn't he great?" that would be OK, too. Anyone who asks nosy questions should be ignored with a polite stare and a frozen smile, and then change the subject. You don't have to respond to these inquiries, no matter who asks or how many times the question comes up.
Dear Annie: This is in response to "A Self-Conscious Wife," who didn't want to wear the sexy clothing her husband had purchased for her because she wasn't "as svelte" as she used to be. Your answer was right on. She should try it. She may be surprised and pleased with the response.
Her husband doesn't see her as she sees herself in the mirror. He sees her the way she looked when they first met. This is a trick the mind plays on lovers. I noticed it years ago when my late wife's picture appeared in the local paper. I complained that it didn't do her justice, but my friends insisted it looked just like her. Over the years, I knew she had aged and gained weight, but when I looked at her, I still saw the beautiful young woman I fell in love with. I call it "lovers' eyesight." I can't be the only hopeless romantic out there. Old Man with Young Vision
Dear Young Man: We're sure you're not, but we appreciate hearing from you. It reassures our readers. Thanks.
E-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox™, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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