March 25, 2023

DEAR ABBY: About a year ago, I started a long-distance relationship with a widower. His wife died four years ago. He told me he slept on the couch a long time and got very little sleep after her death, because he couldn't stand sleeping alone. He has two dogs and had never allowed them on the bed. He finally decided to try sleeping in the bed with the dogs, and was then able to sleep.
I have visited him several times, and he doesn't want to sleep with me. We have discussed marriage. When I told him I want us to sleep together, he said he wants us to continue sleeping in separate rooms/beds after we are married. I don't want that. We have a great relationship except for this.
Am I being unreasonable? I feel like I'd be taking second place to his dogs, and I'm hurt that he would rather sleep with them. I told him how I feel, but he doesn't want to compromise. I don't know if I am wasting my time with him or not. I'm afraid if I insist on it, he will think I am being too pushy and break off our relationship. — GOING TO THE DOGS
DEAR GOING: Could it be that he doesn't want another woman sleeping in the bed he shared with his late wife? Ask him that question. If that's his problem, buying a new bed would solve it. However, if it isn't and being forced to sleep separately would feel personally demeaning, then this isn't the man for you.
P.S. When a couple is discussing marriage, NO question should be considered "too pushy."
DEAR ABBY: I have two beautiful adult daughters. The older one is who I'm having issues with. She treats me like someone she wishes she didn't know. She and her husband plan vacations with his family and never think of including me. When I asked her why, her response was, "Mom, you're always broke and you embarrass me." I'm on disability and yes I'm loud, but that's because I'm hard of hearing.
I love my daughter with all my heart, and it kills me how she treats me. She lives on the West Coast, while I live in South Carolina. I can't even get her to come visit me. She and her husband prefer visiting his family, who live on the Northeast coast. I don't know what to do. My younger daughter doesn't treat me that way. Please help. — HEARTBROKEN DOWN SOUTH
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Your older daughter not only lacks compassion, but her values are seriously out of whack. That she would blame you for having limited finances or being hard of hearing is shameful. According to the NIH, 15% of adults over the age of 18 have some hearing trouble. Nearly 25% of those between 65 and 74 have it as well. If you are 75 or over, it's 50%. So, please dry your tears and concentrate on the child who loves and treats you well, because the daughter about whom you have written isn't likely to change. You will have a happier life if you accept that fact and move forward.
DEAR ABBY: I am the oldest of three. We grew up in an abusive alcoholic family. I'm considered the "failure" of the family because I don't drink. I graduated from college, work full time, got married and have a pretty stable life.
Both of my younger siblings drink and use drugs, and their lives are in constant turmoil. The youngest sibling has mentioned they will need to move by the end of this month and their current job has not paid them for several weeks. I dread that they will ask to stay at my house soon, which I cannot allow because of the drinking and drug use. I know they will be upset that they can't stay with me. How do I protect my peace without feeling like I'm making my sibling homeless? — BAD SISTER IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR BAD SISTER: Your reason for not wanting to host your substance-using sibling is sensible. State it kindly and clearly and do not feel guilty about it. You won't be making your sibling homeless. Unless your sibling is friendless, which I doubt, they will find another place to crash, I assure you.
DEAR ABBY: My father recently passed from cancer. He was divorced from Mom, but she helped take care of him and made him happy in his last year of life. I'm having the baby blues (a 2-month-old) and grieving at the same time.
My mother has now announced that she plans to take a vacation with her best friend. I think it's too soon and I told her that. Am I wrong for feeling this way and trying to stop her from going? But at the same time, I know she deserves this vacation. I'm so confused. Please help. — RIGHT OR WRONG IN ARIZONA
DEAR RIGHT OR WRONG: Allow me to offer my sympathy for the loss of your dad. Considering the recent changes in your life, that you "need" your mother is understandable. However, your mother needing a break at this point is also understandable, so please let her go.
As you should know, your baby blues may be happening because of the abrupt hormonal changes your body is experiencing after the birth of your child. Discuss your emotions with your doctor, because there may be a medical solution for your situation. Please don't wait.
DEAR ABBY: Please don't think I'm misogynistic, but whenever I see females, they're CONSTANTLY talking or scrolling on their cellphones. It seems like it is all they do! They don't seem to be interested in anything except their damned phones. They have no personalities. They have no sex drive. They're not even interested in men! Some even seem to lose their interest in shopping, which we know is a female addiction. It's not cute. It's not normal, and it's not sociable. In fact, it's bizarre and weird. Is there one "halfway" normal female left on this earth, or should I move to another planet? — READY TO BAIL IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR READY: Have you heard that men are from Mars? Your space shuttle departs in 20 minutes. It's a one-way trip. Safe travels …
P.S. I am not calling you misogynistic, but it will be interesting to see what my readers call you. Stay tuned.
DEAR ABBY: I recently met the love of my life, and I'm planning to leave my life and family in Arkansas and move to California to marry him. He's recently divorced after a 25-year marriage. My problem is that his ex wanted the divorce, but now she wants him back. She knows he has met someone, but she's constantly telling him she wants a "booty call."
They have two grown children, and their daughter is being married soon. His ex is now threatening that if he brings me to the wedding, she will do something crazy. I know he loves me and he talks to her only to keep her calm, but I feel if he doesn't take me to the wedding he will be highly disrespecting me. He still talks to her even though she has said some nasty things about me, which is also hurtful. Am I being too sensitive? — PERPLEXED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR PERPLEXED: When this man's ex tells him she wants a booty call, how does he respond? If he's still sexually involved with her, your odds of success with him are zero. He may talk to her (in spite of her saying nasty things about you) because they have children and possibly grandchildren in common. That he would repeat her less than complimentary comments to you does not say much for his judgment.
Under these circumstances, I don't think you should insist upon attending that wedding. Instead, think carefully about the wisdom of leaving your life and family and relocating unless you have a job waiting and a guaranteed timeline regarding marriage.
DEAR ABBY: My 50-year-old nephew has always used women and was finally caught embezzling $60,000 from one of them. He was arrested and ordered to pay restitution, or he would stay in prison for years. After only two weeks of incarceration, he cried and pleaded with our family and promised he would pay anyone back the money if they would pay his restitution.
My sister was a wreck and came to me. I came up with the money and got a promissory note from my nephew. Long story short, he stuck my sister with every payment. When my sister went bankrupt because of it, I asked if he could at least pay $25 toward what he owed, but he did nothing. My sister finally repaid everything my nephew owed me, and now she expects us all to be one big, happy family.
She has invited me and my husband to come for the holidays, which will include my nephew. I told her I will never again be in the same room with that liar and cheat, so now she's upset with me! Am I making the right choice? He used all of us to get out of jail, never paid anyone back and is still using women. For that I'm supposed to embrace him with open arms? I think it would be condoning his actions. — UPSET AUNT
DEAR AUNT: I agree with you about that. Your instinctive reaction to keep your sociopathic nephew at arm's length (or even further) is healthy. It's safer to keep people with no ethics at a distance. After what happened, as much as your sister might wish it, you are no longer one big happy family.
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