DEAR ABBY: I recently started a romantic relationship with "Doug," a guy I have been chasing for a while. My friend "Cassie" helped to set us up, and I am grateful. Doug and I talk every night and are very close.

Cassie has a reputation for being a flirt, but I didn't think much of it. As the months have progressed, I notice her talking to my boyfriend more often. I'm OK with her being friendly, but when she hugs him or tries to always sit next to him, it makes me uncomfortable. I'm scared she's trying to come between us. Recently she told me that she thinks he's cute.

She's always telling me I'm too good for him or I need someone who understands me better. Doug tells me that Cassie is giving me strange looks and telling him that I'm too good for him. I am flattered that she thinks this, but I am scared about her true motivations. — NERVOUS IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR NERVOUS: Stop feeling flattered. Cassie's motivation may be she's sorry she fixed you up with Doug because he has begun looking more and more appealing to her. It appears she is trying to manipulate you and Doug into breaking up, and that's not friendship.

Tell her you and Doug are happy together, you're not "too good" for him and you understand each other very well. Tell her to back off and stop flirting with your boyfriend, and if she doesn't, recognize it's time to distance yourself.

 

DEAR ABBY: I have three grown sons we don't see often. They're married or live with a girlfriend, and they work a lot. I understand they have their own lives, but it seems their partners' families take priority over us. I feel bad about it, but I understand that this is just how it is.

We feel unimportant in their lives. When our anniversary comes around, they don't bother to acknowledge it. (They do acknowledge our birthdays.) I always make sure I don't miss an occasion by calling or sending a card. When the one couple needs something (like money), they always call. I feel if we disappeared, they wouldn't notice. Our anniversary is the tip of the iceberg. All the rest I can let go of.

How can I tell them how much it hurts without sounding like a whiner? I'm not asking for much more than an unsolicited "Happy Anniversary." Our "golden" one is coming up soon. Some people's kids give them parties for such a special occasion. I'm actually embarrassed. We do have a life. We travel. But a little acknowledgment from our kids would be a big morale-booster. Advice? — LET DOWN IN THE WEST

DEAR LET DOWN: Your adult children are not mind readers. They appear to be very much centered on themselves and their own lives. TELL them how hurt you are when they overlook your anniversaries. If nothing changes, the next time you are hit up for money, say no. If you do, it may lessen their sense of entitlement, which would be doing them a bigger favor than dispensing dough like an ATM machine.

 

DEAR ABBY: I grew up not knowing who my biological father was. When I met him for the first time, I was 18. When we met, I felt I had found a piece of who I was. I loved him immediately, as if I had known him my whole life.

We talked and hung out for the next four months until I moved in with him to escape an abusive relationship. I was pregnant at the time and spent half my pregnancy living with him, my stepmother, half-brother and stepbrother. I moved back in with my mom a few months later.

Since then, my father has cut me off. I have been trying so hard to get him to talk to me. He hasn't met my son yet, rarely responds to my texts and never answers my calls. I have invited him to every birthday party, sent him cards for every holiday, begged him to see me and my son. It's been four years now, and I'm heartbroken.

I miss him so much. I feel like a piece of my heart has been ripped out. My grandmother told me that because my older half-sister left with her kids without saying goodbye to him, it broke his heart, and he is afraid I will do the same. What should I do? — MISSING MY DAD IN NEW YORK

DEAR MISSING: Not knowing your father, it's hard to guess his reason for distancing himself from you and his grandchild. It does appear that he is punishing you for something. Could he have been hurt or angry that you chose to live with your mother rather than stay with him and your stepmother?

Because it has been four years, you may have to accept that this estrangement will be permanent and find a way to cope with the loss. If you have a religious adviser, start there.

 

DEAR ABBY: My roommate loves watching documentaries about serial killers, psychopaths and other criminals. I don't like them. To me it feels like a glorification of a person who did evil.

On the flip side, I watch tons of spy movies, superhero movies and action films that depict violence. But the distinction lies in that what I watch is fiction. Usually the good guys win, and if they don't, it's temporary.

My roommate gets really mad when I watch or even talk about the movies I watch, but becomes really defensive when I compare them to what she watches. My roommate is very fragile emotionally and cries, withdraws and shuts down when I do this. The last time, she insinuated I was less of a person for liking these things. Ultimately, I felt sorry for bringing it up, and she still refuses to acknowledge that we are allowed to like different things without being bad people.

I need to know how to bring up that how she responds to the things I like hurts me, and communicate that I have nothing against what she watches, even if it's not my taste. How can I communicate my feelings without feeling like I'm being insensitive for asking her to stop berating me? — JUST A MOVIE IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR JUST A MOVIE: The most diplomatic solution would be for the two of you to agree that certain subjects of conversation should be avoided — this being one of them. And if you can't agree to respect each other's viewing habits without being judgmental, you should find other roommates as soon as your lease is up.