Couple with bright future get on each other's nerves

Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I know every relationship is different, but how do you know when to stop trying and let go? My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half. Lately all we seem to do is fight or upset each other. I don't want to call it quits, but I'm tired of being angry or sad all the time.

We have been trying to fix our relationship for a while now, but nothing seems to stick. We haven't been able to get professional help due to our financial situation and COVID, but I don't know what else to do.

We have so much potential for having an amazing life and family in the future that I don't want to give up on what could be just because we can't get along right now. Is love enough to help us through this rough patch? Or am I just fooling myself into thinking we can survive together? -- LOST IN LOVE IN KANSAS

DEAR LOST: Many couples -- married and not -- have been having relationship problems related to the pandemic and the social isolation it has brought. Add financial issues into the mix, and the result has been anxiety, depression and disrupted relationships.

These are difficult times, and I hope you and your boyfriend can weather the storm by giving each other the gift of patience and understanding. The answer to your dilemma may be as simple as returning to normal once the pandemic gets under control.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 68-year-old man. Yesterday, my girlfriend and I were in a small gift shop. A young couple was there with a 6-month-old baby in a stroller. I bent down, smiled, winked, waved at the baby and said, "Hi there!" I then told the mother that her baby was beautiful and that I love little kids.

My girlfriend said I was being creepy. I was shocked. I said that she knew I liked kids, and she said yes, she knew that, but that I was still being creepy.

Abby, I have two wonderful, successful adult daughters and always enjoyed having their friends over to our house, which was the place to be back then. I am still stunned at the accusation, but I now wonder. Was I out of line and being "creepy"? -- STUNNED IN WASHINGTON

DEAR STUNNED: There's a double standard for men interacting with children that women don't face. But admiring someone's baby and telling the mother her child is beautiful isn't "creepy." Neither is mentioning that you love kids. Countless people say the same thing in passing, and there's nothing untoward about it.

DEAR ABBY: Is there a respectful way to dispose of funeral memory books that no one is interested in keeping? -- CURIOUS DOWNSIZER

DEAR CURIOUS: Funeral memory books are similar to guest books. Mourners sign them so the grieving family will know who attended the service. If you're familiar with whatever messages were left, there is no need to hang on to them. If you don't wish to keep them, offer them to your local genealogical society, historical society or local archives to see if they would be welcomed.

DEAR ABBY: My best friend of nine years, "Sierra," and my boyfriend of two years, "Jaden," strongly dislike each other. They were both at a cookout I had for my birthday, and Sierra kept making passive-aggressive comments to and about him.

At one point, she criticized something controversial that he said, and when he tried to engage her in conversation about it, she ignored him and pretended he didn't exist. Jaden then launched into a series of verbal attacks against her, and although I attempted to get him to drop it, I was unsuccessful.

Sierra ended up leaving, telling me she needed to take a break from our friendship. She has since unfollowed me on social media, leaving me with the impression that our friendship is over because of the argument between her and my boyfriend.

I know Jaden was more at fault, and we have discussed the situation at length, but Sierra isn't willing to talk to me about it. They've never had an interaction like this, ever. She's never liked him, and I know she will never move past this. If Jaden and I were to break up, I don't know if I could bring myself to resolve things with Sierra because I feel like she was unwilling to preserve our friendship. Should I accept her reaction and behavior and move past this? -- BETRAYED AND CONFUSED

DEAR BETRAYED: You have no choice but to accept Sierra's reaction. Not knowing what Jaden said that was controversial, I can't offer an opinion about what generated the argument. If she preferred not to engage with him further, it was her privilege. For Jaden to have pursued and verbally attacked your friend was abusive, and she did the right thing by leaving.

Sierra appears to have a strong sense of self-esteem, and I doubt there is anything you could say to her to convince her to subject herself to Jaden's presence again. She's intelligent enough to know that until your romance with him has run its course, remaining out of the line of fire is the best course of action. If Jaden becomes history, give her a call. I'm pretty sure you two can clear the air then.

DEAR ABBY: How do I confront my daughter, who I am certain "kept" my wedding ring, which I had removed to care for my dying husband? This daughter has a history of "borrowing" siblings' jewelry, then returning it in secrecy.

I have other reasons to believe she has taken the ring, but knowing this daughter, she'll shut down our relationship if I ask. I was thinking of saying something like, "When I was at your house, could I have left it there?" She knows I am looking for it. I suspect she thought the ring was her father's as it is a wide gold band. Advice? -- KEEPING THE PEACE?

DEAR KEEPING THE PEACE?: I hope you get that precious memento back. IF this daughter took the ring, you have more problems than losing a material object. She is a thief who is not above taking from those close to her.

By all means ask if your wedding band might have been inadvertently left at her house ("overlooking" that if it was, she should have informed you immediately). You have nothing to lose by doing so. Whether you get it back or not, before letting your daughter into your home in the future, be prudent and make sure any valuables are under lock and key.