DEAR AMY: During a recent visit with my father (age 75) and my stepmother (age 64), my father informed me that I would be the executor of his will. His will states that in the event of his death, everything would go to his wife (not my mother) and, subsequently, upon her death, anything remaining would go to me. Being that I am his only child/daughter (they never had children) and we have a good relationship, I cannot help but feel hurt and angry. My children (his only grandchildren, whom he professes to love so much), are not mentioned in his will, either. Being that he is his wife’s sole provider and that she is 11 years his junior, I understand the practical side of this decision, however, emotionally, I can’t get over the fact that I will receive nothing from my father after his death. Although I am to get “everything” remaining upon her death, the reality is that I will get nothing because when he dies, she will move back to Europe to live out the rest of her days, possibly even remarry, and anything left will just get absorbed into her new life. Although I am married and financially stable, I am having a very hard time processing this news. I know it’s his money so he can do with it what he chooses, but being his only daughter, I can’t help but feel left out and hurt. How do I get past this?
DEAR LEFT OUT: You seem to be viewing this from the perspective that your father could die soon, leaving his current assets behind. But depending on your father’s health and how he ages, his wife could end up caring for him for 20 years. This is the challenging underside of being the younger spouse.
You seem to equate your father’s financial assets with how much he loves you and your children, but his assets are there to pay for his life until his death, and his wife’s life afterward.
Consider yourself lucky that he has planned and done well enough not to be a financial burden to you, his only child.
It would be great if he would leave something specific (aside from money) to your children. Ask him if he would be willing to pick out something for them to receive as a remembrance.
DEAR AMY: “Stumped” wrote to you about sharing the cost of a meal when out on a date. He should look beyond the question of sharing the cost, to the dynamics of dating. It is the very function of dating to discover each other, and the best way to do that is to share information, reactions and responses. As you converse, you’re constantly testing each other in small ways to find links and dead ends. In that context, asking if the other person is willing to split the cost is nothing more than a way to invite them to reveal their attitudes about dating responsibilities and obligations. If you’re lucky, it opens up the greater subject of attitudes toward money, gender roles and expectations. You may grow closer if you can discuss these things, or you may get a red flag if the answer, or no answer, troubles you. Take the chance and ask!
Voice of Experience
DEAR EXPERIENCE: I like the way you described this dynamic and appreciate the advice. Thank you.
DEAR AMY: I assume you have been flooded with responses to your question from “Fully Clothed,” who wondered how to respond to a friend who frequently posted nude photos of her young son on Facebook. Your answer was good, but I think it should have been stronger. While you are right that these images could be used by pedophiles, you didn’t mention that this mother might be accused of disseminating child pornography herself. When someone in my own social media circle posted nude photos of her children on Facebook for the entire world to see, I clicked on the “report” button on the Facebook page and reported it. The woman’s account was suspended. I wasn’t seeking to punish this person, but to get these pictures off the internet.
DEAR CONCERNED: Family members who take and post nude photos of children in their family can be accused of disseminating child pornography, even if their intent is benign.
There is absolutely no place for these photos (no matter how cute) on the internet. A young child cannot consent, and malicious people can easily share these pictures.