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Woman discovers truth about boyfriend's dangerous nature

Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a wonderful relationship and blissfully happy for two years. We live together. When "Scott" and I first got together, he told me he had a felony conviction and that a woman had falsely accused him of rape. I laughed it off because I didn't want to see the truth, but it ate at me badly. Then I finally looked it up via a background check, and it's really bad.

Two months after his ex-girlfriend broke up with him, Scott broke into her house and raped her while she was passed out on prescription sleeping pills. She called the police the next day, and he got a plea bargain, went to jail for 100 days and paid her $20,000 in restitution, probation and the whole thing. Scott still insists it was all her fault and that he is the victim. What do you think? -- SHATTERED IN THE WEST

DEAR SHATTERED: I am so glad you asked. What I think is that you should extricate yourself from a relationship with this disturbed felon as quickly and carefully as you can. That Scott blames his victim for the rape he committed tells me he still has not accepted responsibility for his actions and that he is dangerous. Consider contacting the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (rainn.org; 800-656-4673) for advice on how to safely end it.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 55-year-old woman dating a 63-year-old man. Our relationship didn't start out in the best of circumstances eight years ago because he was still in his 25-year marriage. His wife had been living out of state. When she eventually learned about our relationship, she asked for a divorce. The divorce has been final for more than a year.

I understand that he is embarrassed to let his friends know he is now divorced, but his closest friends know. I'm still waiting for a time when I can be a part of his life without hiding, but I'm beginning to feel he has no intention of letting this happen.

He gets irritated and upset with me when I ask if this friend or that knows about the divorce yet. He doesn't want me to meet his friends. Must I just accept that I was never meant to really be a part of his life, even though he tells me he loves me? -- STILL IN HIDING IN WASHINGTON

DEAR STILL IN HIDING: I'm sorry, but I think you may be finally reading the handwriting on the wall quite clearly. If he were proud of this relationship and in love with you, he would be showing you off to his friends, not hiding you. Have you actually seen his divorce papers, and are you absolutely sure that this man is divorced?

DEAR ABBY: I am 64 years old and happily married to a wonderful woman. The problem I'm having is she has a very large family. Most of them walk into our home without knocking. Even if I know they are coming over, it bothers me. I would never, ever walk into any of their homes without a knock. I was raised that you knock before entering, even at my parents' house after moving out on my own. What do you think about this? -- PUT OFF IN FLORIDA

DEAR PUT OFF: Out of respect for your feelings, your wife should have spoken to her family years ago and asked them to either call before dropping in on you or, at the very least, knock. And if it's feasible to keep the doors locked, do it.

DEAR ABBY: Would you please address again the importance of expressing gratitude via a handwritten note when a generous gift has been given? We grandparents would love it to be acknowledged by our grandchildren. Some of them are better than others at this. My take is that their parents, although they were taught properly, didn't take the time to emphasize the importance of expressing gratitude.

I don't accept the notion that "people just don't do that anymore." When I give a generous gift to a newlywed couple or a grandchild, the money came out of my bank account. I want to know my gift was received and appreciated. I have almost reached the point where, in the future, I will respond "not able to attend" and send nothing when I know the odds of it being acknowledged are practically nil and the couple is, for instance, a distant relative. Abby, is that letter-writing publication of yours still available? It's obviously still needed. -- DISGUSTED IN ALBUQUERQUE

DEAR DISGUSTED: Yes, my Letters booklet is still available. The issues you raise are ones I hear about often from readers. However, you may be judging these folks a bit harshly. Many people put off writing letters because they don't know how to express their feelings via the written word and fear they will say the wrong thing. They think a thank-you note must be long and flowery when, in fact, short and to the point is more effective.

That is the reason why "How To Write Letters for All Occasions" was written. It contains samples of thank-you letters for birthday gifts, shower gifts and wedding gifts, as well as the ones that arrive around holiday time. It also includes letters of congratulations and ones regarding difficult subjects, such as the loss of a parent, a spouse or a child. It can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus a check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby Letters Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. With the holiday season fast approaching, this is the perfect time to reply with a handwritten letter, note or well-written email.

Because letter composition is not always effectively taught in the schools, my booklet can serve as a helpful tutorial -- not only a valuable tool for parents to use in teaching their children to write using proper etiquette, but also a handy guide for anyone who puts off writing because they don't know what to say.

DEAR ABBY: Is weekly intimacy unusual at 72 years of age? -- WONDERING IN TEXAS

DEAR WONDERING: Not for someone who has a partner who is willing and able.