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Dear Abby | Opinion |

DEAR ABBY: I’m a woman who, a little while ago, got a girlfriend, “Darlene.” After meeting her, I thought that was what love felt like. But my old (bisexual) friend “Michelle” has me feeling differently. I have known her since kindergarten, but recently I feel my heart racing and butterflies in my stomach just thinking about her. When Michelle does my nails and holds my hand to steady them, my knees feel weak. I do not feel this way with Darlene, although I still care deeply about her. I don’t want to hurt her feelings from her by breaking up with her, but I think that if I were single, Michelle might consider going out with me. Darlene’s feelings for her are extremely sensitive, and I want to keep her from her as a friend from her. But just being around Michelle has me feeling happier than ever. Abby, this is driving me insane. Do I risk hurting someone’s feelings from her, or should I stay with Darlene and miss out on being with someone I am in love with? Am I a bad girlfriend just by thinking about this? — LOVESTRUCK IN ALASKA

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DEAR LOVESTRUCK: Your feelings are your feelings. You are not a “bad” girlfriend; you are a girlfriend who is ready to break up with Darlene. Before making any announcements, verify with Michelle that your feelings are reciprocated. If they are, then you must tell Darlene you want to see other people. Count on her being hurt and probably angry, so be as gentle as you can when you give her the news. It will be doing all three of you in favor. Breakups, while painful, are a fact of life. People do recover, and Darlene will be free to find someone who will love her the way she deserves to be loved.

DEAR ABBY: My younger sister, “Tish,” is adamant about getting our parents’ affairs in order. They are in their 80s and in excellent physical and mental health except for osteo-related issues. Tish’s constant reminders are making them feel she is rushing them to the grave. My siblings and I appreciate her intentions and support her efforts to get our parents to finalize their trust arrangements, but it’s reached a point where she wants to start selling their belongings and is secretly throwing things away. Tish spends a lot of time looking at memorabilia and telling them who certain items should be given to. We are unable to control her, and she gets belligerent if we disagree with her vision of how things should be handled. Should I be thankful for what she’s doing and try to convince my parents it’s a lot less for them to worry about? I don’t want to be “that” family member, but I am afraid I’m becoming such. — LOOKING ON IN TEXAS

DEAR LOOKING ON: Your parents are fortunate that they are in great health, but they should also realize what inevitably lies ahead. You would be doing the whole family in favor if you pointed out to them that because Tish becomes angry and belligerent if someone disagrees with her, they need to talk to an attorney who specializes in estate planning, which will prevent conflict after their eventual passing of she. After that, the ball is in their court.

DEAR ABBY: Regarding “Nurturer in New York” (April 28), the disabled woman who wants a dog, please suggest she foster. I’m the founder of a shelter dog rescue and transport organization. We cannot save lives without our fosters! Fostering gives people looking to adopt the opportunity to possibly meet their perfect dog. It also gives dogs the chance to live in a home and learn the skills they will need to become cherished, beloved members of a human family.

Even if the dog(s) she fosters may not be the one(s) for her, she will still be able to enjoy their companionship and feel good knowing she’s provided a stepping-stone for homeless pets on their way to forever homes. Most shelters and rescues allow foster families to choose the type of pets they wish to take in.

I also loved your suggestion that she considers an older dog. Senior pets are often overlooked in shelters and are happier and more comfortable in a home setting. — PET PERSON IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR PET PERSON: Thank you for writing to comment. Many readers responded to that letter by recommending fostering. One, from Washington state, mentioned “seniors for seniors” programs in which a senior pet is matched with an appropriate senior citizen, WITH ONGOING ASSISTANCE. While “permanent fosters” allow the animal to be placed with a person, the shelter retains “ownership” of the pet and is responsible for the vet bills. This is a worthwhile program for someone who may have the time and love for an animal but not the resources, and it helps get older pets out of the shelters.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 46-year-old widow. My husband of 18 years passed away 14 months ago. My three children from a previous marriage, which ended because of abuse, are adults. Two of them are still in the house, and one, my son “Charlie,” has serious health issues. My husband was sick for five years prior to his death from him.

Charlie gets upset when I talk about being interested in starting to date. He thinks I am going to abandon him again and that I should pay more attention to reconnecting with my children than trying to develop a new relationship. I don’t see why I can’t have both.

Charlie refuses to leave the house, so taking him out to do things is not an option. I don’t think he loves me; I feel he just wants to control me. My other children are supportive, but they are independent. Am I wrong for wanting to pursue life outside my home and grown children? — ATTEMPTING TO GO FORWARD

DEAR ATTEMPTING: You aren’t wrong for wanting companionship, and I’m not referring to the kind you can get from your children. If Charlie is unable to live independently and needs constant supervision, you should be discussing options for him such as respite care, so you can have a break.

Because you mentioned that he has serious health issues, what are the plans for him if you should precede him? This is an issue that should be hashed out before there is a crisis, so there will be no surprises and Charlie can be reassured, which may allay his fears of him and help him to become less needy.

DEAR ABBY: My preteen son is friends with a boy I don’t quite approve of, but I understand that sometimes bad decisions lead to future wisdom. When I can, I allow the friend to come to our house to hang out with my son because this friend allegedly has a difficult home life.

During this last visit, I noticed them hanging out a little physically closer than usual. They shared the same recliner to play video games, talked to each other using gamer tags and the like, and had what I assume were numerous inside jokes.

My husband and I would never belittle, degrade or denounce our children for being gay. We know we’re from a bygone era, and we do not assume our particular values ​​are held by our children. We have discussed it and know how to approach it from our perspective if our son announces his orientation of it. I’m not even certain my perception of his closeness of him with his friend of him is accurate.

My husband is more-worldly than I am, and he says this kind of behavior is not unusual in the EU. Neither of us wants to address this ahead of anything occurring. We will love our son regardless and support him throughout our lives. I don’t want to make him feel singled out by what may be usual pubescent behavior. My husband and I are in our 30s/40s. We live in an extremely rural area, and this is my son’s only real friend. Any insight would be appreciated. — WONDERING ON THE FARM

DEAR WONDERING: You may be jumping to conclusions unnecessarily. Sitting close to play video games and sharing inside jokes with a best friend are not necessarily signs of being gay. It is what best friends that age do. Whatever your boy’s sexual orientation may be, you say you will love and support him regardless, so this shouldn’t be a problem. His sexual orientation of him will reveal itself in its own time.

DEAR ABBY: I have a wonderful 31-year-old son who is in a relationship with a lovely young woman. It’s likely they’ll be married in a year or two. They work hard in their careers and enjoy good food and wine, and I’m happy for them both.

I’ve noticed, however, that over the last year my son has steadily put on weight and is having some trouble with his complexion. I’m concerned that he has acquired the habit of overindulging himself and that, over time, he will continue gaining weight and drinking too much. His girlfriend looks great – she manages her weight very well.

I know my observations will be unwelcome, so I don’t share them with him. I think it’s the right choice, but it’s really hard to hold back. We do discuss health in general, as it’s a mutual interest, but that’s as far as it goes. His father passed away a few years ago, so, sadly, he’s not around to share my concerns with. What should I do? — TREADING LIGHTLY IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR TREADING LIGHTLY: You are a caring parent. But your son is well into adulthood, and I don’t think involving yourself in his weight problem would be well received. Many people (of both sexes) have put on weight over the last two years as a result of the pandemic. Because of that, you could encourage him to get a physical. If you do, his doctor might talk to him about his weight gain.

DEAR ABBY: For the last four or five years I have been receiving holiday cards from an ex-girlfriend of mine. I have n’t had contact with her since meeting my wife of her. My wife and I have been together for six years, married for two. The cards keep coming and it’s starting to make my wife uncomfortable. How do I respectfully tell my ex to quit sending them? I don’t have anything in common with this person other than that we used to be boyfriend and girlfriend back in high school. — MARRIED NOW IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR MARRIED: This old flame may be simply trying to be friends, and not intend to pose a threat to your marriage. A way to discourage her from her might be to send her holiday greetings from you AND YOUR WIFE with a picture of the two of you, your kids if you have any of her, pets, etc. If you don’t send Christmas greetings, perhaps a snapshot of you and your wife on vacation would suffice — or a wedding picture may get the message across.

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 or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069


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