DEAR ABBY: I am a single male in my early 50s who looks younger. A married couple approached me and expressed their desire for me to become intimate with them as a couple. They are only acquaintances.
I was surprised but interested when they told me they have an open marriage and would like me to participate with the wife. They are into threesomes, swinging and swapping. I have never participated in such activities, although I admit that I am now very curious.
They know I am a religious person and told me that they don't consider it to be adultery or coveting since they are willing participants and there are no secrets or desire to break up their marriage. I told them I'd think about it and get back to them.
When I discussed it with my married brother, he was all for it. But when I talked about it with my divorced sister, at first she thought I was trying to recruit her as a participant, which I was not. Once I cleared that up, she voiced no opinion.
I am a clean-cut boy-next-door type of person. I don't flirt with women, and I'm discreet about my personal life. This could be why this couple approached me. I would appreciate your thoughts. -- CURIOUS IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR CURIOUS: I'm glad to oblige. Because you are a religious person, look up the definition of adultery. My dictionary defines it as having sex with someone other than your spouse. Covet means to lust after. This swinging couple appears to have their own definition of those terms, which do not mesh with reality.
That said, being in your sixth decade, you are a big boy, and the decision whether to participate is strictly up to you. I know the offer is flattering, but it might be interesting to know what your religious adviser would have to say about this. Before proceeding, perhaps consider seeking advice from that person.
DEAR ABBY: Six years ago, I retired to care for my wife of 34 years. She was on multiple meds and wheelchair-bound, suffering from high blood pressure, alcohol and nicotine addiction, chronic depression, morbid obesity, advancing kidney failure, severe arthritis and worsening dementia.
Throughout the remainder of her difficult life, I was her only caregiver. Her son and daughter were "too busy" to help, although they live only a few minutes away. (Her "too busy" daughter didn't even have a job.) During the final year of my wife's struggle, not once did they visit her.
After she died, they spread the word on social media that she died because I didn't take care of her. I don't know if it was to deflect criticism from themselves or to assuage a guilty conscience (if they even have one). What kills me is they told that same lie to my grandchildren, and I can't call and tell them the truth. My son-in-law threatened the kids that if they spoke to me, he would take away their phones.
It has been a year and a half, and this mess still breaks my heart. Any suggestions? -- UNHAPPY GRANDPA
DEAR GRANDPA: Unless there is a chapter missing from your letter, what your children have done is not only inexplicable but also despicable. To alienate you from your grandchildren is heartless.
However, what's done is done. You know you did everything you possibly could for your late wife. Now go, live your life to the fullest and stop looking back because you richly deserve every GOOD thing life brings your way.
DEAR ABBY: I have two beautiful daughters, ages 3 and 4. My concern is that my younger daughter is very friendly. No matter where we go, she says "hi" to everyone she sees, strangers included. With all her positive energy, she has the type of personality that attracts attention when she walks into a room. I love her for that, but I'm also worried she's too friendly.
Some of our neighbors are male, and she wants to hug them and sit on their laps. This alarms me, and I'm not sure what to do. With how things are nowadays, you never know who you can trust. I don't want to dampen her confident and upbeat disposition, but I want to teach her why it's not OK to do this. Sometimes I wonder if she does it because her father isn't in the picture, so when she sees an older man, she wants that bond. Please help, Abby. -- PROTECTIVE IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR PROTECTIVE: Your daughter appears to be a lovely little girl. I agree you shouldn't dampen her outgoing and affectionate nature. She should not be walking around by herself without supervision. Explain to her what appropriate behavior is and is not. This is an ongoing conversation that includes more information as she is able to understand it. Ultimately, you are her parent, and you must determine what is appropriate in her interactions with ALL people, regardless of gender.
DEAR ABBY: How do I deal with a friend who constantly stays on her cellphone (texting, talking or using video chat) every time we get together? She puts her phone on video chat in the car and talks to some guy (Note: She's already in a relationship.), and in restaurants she keeps her phone on the table and it rings, which is annoying. She also talks on the phone in public places, making others around glance over at her, yet she doesn't turn it off.
She spent the last 40 minutes of a recent 1 1/2-hour bus trip we took, seated next to each other, on her phone. There was a sign nearby that read, "Cellphone use unless in an emergency situation is prohibited," and the passenger in front of us kept turning around to glare at her. She was oblivious! I once told her I don't talk on my phone if I'm with someone. She asked me how I did that and when I shut my phone off, she commented, "I can't do that"! What do I do, Abby? -- OFFENDED IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR OFFENDED: Your friend appears to be not only inconsiderate of you and others around her, but also addicted to her cellphone. Allow me to share what I would do: I would spend my time with friends who choose to be fully present when in my company.
DEAR ABBY: How long should a new wife wait to be introduced to her husband's adult child because the adult child doesn't know what to say to his young children about who I am? -- WAITING IN THE WEST
DEAR WAITING: You should have been introduced to your husband's family long before you became the new wife, which would have been far easier for all concerned. What the young children should be told is: "I have wonderful news! 'Pop-pop' got married to a very nice lady. He was so sad when he was by himself, and now he isn't alone anymore. Isn't that great?" The news should be delivered with a big smile and maybe even ice cream to celebrate.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 16 years. His ex was supposed to pay child support, but didn't. He worked in his career for only one year after we married and since then has held menial jobs, which have kept his future retirement intact. I have provided him and his children a home for which he has never made a mortgage payment or taxes, utilities, clothes, etc. His children have never lacked for anything.
His ex now wants to resolve the back child support issue by giving the settlement amount of money to the kids. I don't feel they should get it because it is owed to HIM. I'd like to see him use it to pay off some of his credit card bills, which are high.
She has told the kids what she is offering and plans to guilt him into giving it to them. He doesn't have to settle that way if he chooses. He doesn't know that I saw the letter, and he's lying about the amount she's willing to pay. What should I do? -- PRESENT MRS.
DEAR PRESENT MRS.: After having supported your husband and his children all these years, the LEAST you are owed is honesty. What you should do is discuss this with an attorney of your own immediately and, while you are at it, raise the subject of what is and is not considered community property in your state. You should also determine to what extent you might be responsible for paying those high credit card balances should he renege. Once you have the answers, you will be better able to determine how to handle this.
DEAR ABBY: Ten years ago, I was a guest at the home of my friend "Roger" for a five-day holiday celebration. We've shared this event with family and friends for years. I was the only non-family member out of the five adults and two teenagers staying at his home. The guest room assigned to me shared Roger's master bathroom, which I used.
During my visit, Roger's prescription medicine came up missing. I heard about it from a mutual friend a day after I returned home. This friend told me Roger was adamant that I took his medication and there was no need to question anyone else.
Roger would not accept my calls. To add insult to injury, the so-called mutual friend agrees with Roger that I was the culprit! So, I have lost two friends. How do I let go and move on? Time hasn't healed THESE wounds. -- ACCUSED IN OHIO
DEAR ACCUSED: Roger should have confronted you when his medication turned up missing. That he accused you behind your back to someone makes me wonder how good a friend he really was. As to the mutual friend who contacted you the next day, be grateful.
It is my experience that we can do what we set our minds to. Start celebrating this holiday by involving yourself in travel or other activities you enjoy, and spend time with other people so you won't be alone.
DEAR ABBY: I have known this man, "Finn," for years. We grew up together. He was the annoying boy on the playground who turned into my first love when we were in college. We live in different states now, so we have grown distant, although we still talk on holidays and birthdays.
It's been quite a while since we were together, but I still can't get over him. I haven't tried to find another guy because I know he will be second to Finn, and that's not fair to him.
Is it weird that I still go to text Finn when something big happens but realize I can't, or that I dream about us still? How do I get over a guy I love and only broke up with because he didn't want to move? I will never go back to our hometown. It was an awful place. So what do I do? -- TRYING NOT TO LOVE HIM
DEAR TRYING: Here's what you do. Accept the fact that Finn is a "married man" -- someone wedded to his hometown, which you have long outgrown. Then stop idealizing a person who didn't value your relationship enough to consider relocating with you. And finally, accept the reality that this wasn't meant to be. Allow yourself the opportunity to meet eligible men and quit comparing them to someone you have placed on such a high pedestal that they cannot compete.
DEAR ABBY: My 24-year-old son is a good young man and mostly responsible and mature, except in one area. He fails to see the importance of keeping up regular oil changes on his two vehicles that were passed down to him.
I keep track of when he's had the last oil change, and I start reminding him at the time they are due. I tell him to make an appointment, he says "I will," but when asked later, he says he hasn't. I have tried to tell him how important it is. I've even made the appointment and taken the vehicles in myself. What can I do to get him to take care of this responsibility by himself? -- NAGGING MOTHER IN WISCONSIN
DEAR MOTHER: The way for your son to learn that lesson is for you to stop nagging and let him suffer the consequences for his irresponsibility. You may have helped the cars by taking them in, but you did not help your son.
DEAR ABBY: One of my sisters is visiting our place and staying at our house for four nights. She always brings presents for us when she comes. However, the items are partly used or carry no tags or seals.
My other sisters feel the same as I do about it, but no one ever says anything. I am torn between staying silent or speaking out once and for all in plain English. What should I do? -- TAGLESS IN MAINE
DEAR TAGLESS: When someone is a houseguest -- even a relative -- good manners dictate that a small gift is in order. By small gift, I mean a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, a box of nuts or candy. Your sister is either unaware of the social graces, financially strapped or rude. Accept the "gift" graciously but suggest that next time a bottle of wine or some flowers would be appreciated.