DEAR ABBY: I have come into contact with my first and forever love again after 30 years. We have had a few encounters throughout the years. When they happened, we fell right back into our comfort zone.
We both have current relationships with others that are not satisfying. We have both had failed relationships as well. No relationship I have ever been in compares to the one I have with this man. He's successful and buries himself in his work. Even though he never says it, I know in my heart he has hidden feelings toward me as well.
This man has held my heart my entire life. I never stopped loving him. Do I finally tell him how I feel and risk possibly losing him forever, or should I remain silent and enjoy the encounters we have when they happen? -- WANTS IT ALL IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR WANTS IT ALL: I think you should finally let this man know how you feel about him. If you do, it will either enable him to tell you he feels the same as you do, or stop you from fantasizing about a relationship that will never happen. If he is satisfied with the status quo, it doesn't necessarily mean these encounters will end, but at least you will know them for what they are.
DEAR ABBY: My mother has no faith in me, mostly because I have a disability. Even though it's not that bad, she still doesn't think I can do anything hard. Although I'm almost 40, she still tells me what to do and criticizes me in any way she can, including my parenting. I can't spend a day with her without wanting to come home and take a bat to the walls.
I have a lot of anger inside, and I don't trust her because she tends to tell her friends or family things I would rather were kept private. What can I do about this? -- IRRITATED IN ILLINOIS
DEAR IRRITATED: If this is any comfort, I receive letters with the same complaint as yours from readers who don't have disabilities. If your children are healthy and doing well and your mother's criticisms are baseless, my advice is to tune your probably well-meaning but overbearing mother out. Because she discusses things you confide in her with others, quit telling her anything you don't want broadcast. It's easier than trying to muzzle her. You might also consider seeing your mother less often, which could save your walls and the wear and tear on the bat you're tempted to use after those encounters.
DEAR ABBY: I would like to propose a new word for general use. It's "wasband." Definition: male to whom I am no longer married. Reason: "Ex" seems a pejorative term. I didn't want to add that burden to the baggage our kids may have picked up.
I have used it since the mid-1990s. I began to think of a new term when I was in a social situation with my wasband, his wife and mutual friends. I bumped into a colleague and wasn't quick enough to think of a polite term for my former husband, so I could only introduce him as "the father of my children." I think "wasband" is a less awkward term. What do you think, Abby? -- LOVER OF LANGUAGE IN WASHINGTON
DEAR L.O.L.: I think it is clever. The term is listed in the Urban Dictionary, and because you started using it so early shows you are one smart cookie.
DEAR ABBY: After using online dating for almost a year, I have met someone, and it's getting serious. Problem is, during some of our first conversations, he talked about his previous online experiences. One involved a woman who asked him for money and how stupid she must've thought he was. Another time, he told me he couldn't understand how a person could send money to someone they met online and had never met in person.
Well, this person (me), who he thinks is so smart and successful, is one of those who was drawn in by an online person. I sent money several times. I am a well-educated and successful professional who is so ashamed of this that I haven't gone to the authorities. I cut ties with the person to whom I loaned the money. He promised to pay me back, but I haven't seen a penny.
I haven't told a soul I did this. Should I disclose this to my boyfriend? I want to be honest with him, but I also wonder if what's in the past should be left in the past. Please advise me. -- ASHAMED SOUTHERN LADY
DEAR LADY: I see no reason for you to discuss this with the man you are currently seeing, unless it is to enlighten him that even well-educated, successful people can be gullible under the right circumstances. Fortunately for you, you weren't seriously damaged by the person's failure to repay you. (Other intelligent, but trusting, people have suffered irreparable damage.)
Because you feel you were taken advantage of, it couldn't hurt to notify the authorities. Yes it's embarrassing, but human beings make mistakes. If you were preyed upon and the person was a scammer, you might be doing someone else a favor by reporting it.
DEAR ABBY: My granddaughter-to-be is an absolute doll. She's perfect for my grandson, and I think they were meant for each other. My concern is her family. They treat her like Cinderella.
She cleans, cooks, does laundry and takes care of her disabled sister. She is 21, but because she's living with her parents until she and my grandson are married, she has to ask permission to go anywhere or do anything. She also believes everything they tell her, which is mostly B.S.
My fear is that her family will interfere with their marriage and expect her to still take care of her lazy relatives. She has told them things will change once she's married, but because she is easily manipulated, they will expect her to continue taking care of their household. How can I convince her to set boundaries without sounding like I'm trying to manipulate her myself? -- ONLY WANTS THE BEST FOR THEM
DEAR ONLY WANTS: Creating boundaries is going to be a new experience for this young woman. While it may eventually be liberating, it probably won't be comfortable in the beginning. Thankfully, she will have your grandson at her side to reinforce her.
Befriend her and listen when she needs to talk. With parents as controlling as you describe, she's going to need all the support and validation she can get. When she needs to strengthen her backbone, remind (don't lecture) her that as a married woman, her first priority must be her husband and -- if they are blessed with any -- her children, and repeat that important message often.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are expecting our second child. We are facing a moral decision based on choosing his name.
My wife's cousin sadly had a late-term miscarriage two years ago. The name they were going to give their baby is coincidentally the same first and middle name that we have chosen for our child. We have wanted this combination of first and middle names for years, well before her cousin had her misfortune.
In our case, the middle name is in honor of my wife's father. The first name is just one we have always liked and, frankly, we cannot think of any other names we like more. Is it immoral or even unkind to name our child the same as her cousin's child? Should we consider a different name to avoid causing them pain? -- RESPECTFUL IN HAWAII
DEAR RESPECTFUL: Please try harder to find a different first name for your baby. Although it would not be immoral to give your little one the same name(s) as this cousin's stillborn baby, if this woman interacts with you at all, it will cause her pain. Even though no one "owns" a name, to use these two would be extremely insensitive.
DEAR ABBY: I shared some information with my grandson about his mother that I shouldn't have. He repeated it to her during an argument, and now she's angry with me. I apologized, but it has not been acknowledged or accepted. Our relationship has always been tenuous and, frankly, it's not a big deal for me. She will get over it, but she's enjoying holding it over my head and being the victim.
They're moving into a beautiful house this weekend. My son told me he can't wait for me to see it, and he's sure it won't be long before I'm allowed to come out and visit. What would you do? I'm thinking of buying an olive tree. They're in style, and it would be my way if extending an olive branch. I will take it over when I know my son is there. Good idea? -- BIG MOUTH IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR BIG MOUTH: It's cute, but an olive branch and another sincere apology might be less expensive and go over better. It might even last longer than a tree in her brand-new yard that reminds her of something unpleasant.
DEAR ABBY: I have a miniature dachshund, "Snoopy," that I take on walks in the neighborhood. I am very good about picking up any deposits that he makes. One neighbor has asked that I not allow him to use her yard for either No. 1 or No. 2 while on his walks. Is this unreasonable or, more to the point, practical?
Anybody who has ever had a dog knows that stopping a dog and picking him up the second he lifts his leg or squats will quite often result in disaster. Again, I'm very good about picking up his deposits and have never left anything in her yard. What say you? -- RESPONSIBLE PET GUARDIAN
DEAR GUARDIAN: Dogs do not urinate just to relieve themselves. They also do it to leave "messages" for other dogs. Snoopy would have less of an urge to go in that woman's yard if other dogs had not already signed in. I feel for that poor homeowner because, if enough dogs use her lawn as a post office, they could destroy it. Also, when dogs defecate, traces can be left behind, which make it very unpleasant for those who take care of the landscaping. Please try to do as she has requested.
P.S. If the homeowner had written me about this, I would have advised her to fence her property if it is allowed by the homeowners association.