DEAR ABBY: I have been married for seven months, and my husband wants a second wife, something I do not agree with. He says he likes helping people and has decided he wants a former lover to be a part of our marriage. Unfortunately, she is more than willing to sleep with him.
Now he's talking about helping her move even though he knows I'm against him having anything to do with her. She says she's going to tell her daughter he is her boyfriend and not let her know he is married. She wants to be my friend, but I want nothing to do with her.
I sold my house, so I have nowhere to go. He refuses to go to marriage counseling because he says I am the problem. I am just about ready to cut my losses and move on. What do you think? -- READY TO MOVE ON
DEAR READY: You and your husband are already living on separate planets as far as your values are concerned. Unless you are willing to have an open marriage and another woman sharing your husband, I "think" it's time to talk to a lawyer!
DEAR ABBY: While flying across country with my toddler son, he started screaming hysterically as the plane began its descent. Nothing I could do would calm him. I tried giving him a bottle, a knuckle, a pacifier, even the corner of my shirt, but he continued to howl.
All of a sudden, a hand holding a lollipop appeared in the space between our seats and with it came a soft voice that said, "It's the change in air pressure. Try this." I took what turned out to be a sugar-free lollipop, and sure enough, the moment I unwrapped the generally frowned-upon treat, my son began sucking enthusiastically, calmed down and sat quietly until the plane came to a stop.
Ever since then I travel with sugar-free lollipops in my purse in the event a child near me is undone by the change in cabin pressure during landing. Some parents are skeptical at first, but when I use the tone and the words once spoken to me, they usually accept the treat, calm their child and sigh in relief. I encourage parents of children old enough to handle a lollipop to do the same just in case there is no lollipop angel on their flight. -- TIP FROM UP HIGH
DEAR TIP: Hmmm. Perhaps airlines should stock an emergency supply of lollipops on their planes for parents in that situation. It would be easier than handing out earplugs and tranquilizers to all the other passengers on the flight.
DEAR ABBY: My niece died last week from a fentanyl overdose. She was 43. My brother lives out of town, so I offered to retrieve my niece's belongings. While going through them, I found a crack pipe and syringes. Should I tell my brother or keep it to myself? -- KEEP IT TO MYSELF
DEAR KEEP IT: Please accept my sympathy for the loss your family has suffered. I think you should tell your brother. He is already aware that his daughter had a serious drug problem. If you're afraid the news will add to his pain, don't be. Disclosing it could help him realize the scope of her addiction.
DEAR ABBY: What would you say about a man who still keeps a photo of himself with his late wife as his computer background picture two years after he remarried? -- SECOND-FIDDLE SECOND WIFE
DEAR WIFE: I'd say he may be too lazy or computer-inept to update it. If it were me, I'd "volunteer" to help him change it.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married two years, but my husband and I have been together for more than 10. We have a 3-year-old daughter who has needed a few extra doctor appointments and therapy. My husband makes it to none of these extra appointments, some of which are crucial to her future. We both work full-time, but he works six days a week.
I have started to regard him differently because I'm doing everything for our daughter. Sometimes I feel like a single parent. I don't want my marriage to fail, but we aren't connecting anymore. I take off work or switch my hours around because I know that's what you do for your child. He never takes off work, yet he doesn't think twice about going golfing with his boss like it's no big deal. What do you think I should do? -- WISCONSIN MOMMY
DEAR MOMMY: Talk to your husband. You won't be able to achieve a more equal balance until you make your feelings known and discuss this with him.
I'm sorry you didn't mention what kind of job your husband has, because it's an important omission. He may be doing everything he can for you and his daughter. A six-day-a-week schedule doesn't offer much flexibility. And please don't judge him for playing golf with his boss. A lot of business is discussed on the links, and his presence may be more compulsory than you realize.
DEAR ABBY: My adult child recently passed away. Although he didn't live with me, I handled the arrangements and held the visitation in my home.
It has been only a few months, but I feel the need to get everything settled. But every time I sit down to write thank-you cards, I become so anxious I find it hard to breathe. Some family members have told me thank-you cards are not expected for bereavement. Can you tell me what the proper etiquette and time frame is in this matter? -- HAS TO SETTLE EVERYTHING
DEAR HAS: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your son. There are two ways to handle the task of thanking those who sent flowers, food or condolence letters. The first is to ask a friend or another family member to help you. The other is as simple as having cards printed that say, "The family of ____________ want to thank you for reaching out to us at this sad time," and signing your name. I hope this is helpful for you.
DEAR ABBY: I have a close friend with whom I often travel and attend events. She's a lovely person, but she has the odd habit of singing in public -- in gift shops, restaurants, or any public place where music is playing (and sometimes even when it's not). I can't have the radio on in the car without her singing along. She has an OK voice, but her style is a bit operatic. How can I gently tell her that her spontaneous performances are inappropriate and excessive? -- NOT KARAOKE IN THE EAST
DEAR NOT KARAOKE: I suspect your friend craves attention, which is why she does it. Pay her the compliment she's looking for by telling her how nice her voice is, but you would prefer she not sing when you're out in public together because you find it embarrassing.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I live in a beachfront condo complex with a population of mostly retired people who are friendly and active. Last year a divorced woman moved in and was welcomed into the community. Although she has been invited to social gatherings and outings, she rarely attends. My wife and I went out of our way to try to make her feel comfortable. We had her to dinner in our home and asked her to join us for several outings. I also volunteered to do chores in her home, always accompanied by my wife.
Recently she confided to us that she has never really had any friends. She complains that she's not included and has criticized most of the residents at various times. Some of the things she says are cruel and unwarranted, including about people she doesn't know. She seems to enjoy trying to turn people against each other.
At a recent event, when a couple we know well entered the room, the wife came up to me and kissed me on the cheek. She later did the same to my wife, who was standing across the room. That's how she greets most people she knows. Later our "friend" told my wife I had been flirting with the other woman and she had seen me kiss her. A week later I learned she had told the woman's husband I flirted with his wife, which was untrue.
How do we react to this new neighbor? Should we confront her, distance ourselves from her, and/or warn others about her critical behavior and lying? -- MIFFED IN MISSISSIPPI
DEAR MIFFED: The answer to all three of your questions is yes. And when you and your wife talk to your friends about this toxic woman, be sure to caution them that if they ever hear anything negative about anyone else from her, to always check with the person she is talking about to determine if what she said is true.
DEAR ABBY: I have lost a large portion of my vision, and will be trained soon in the use of a white cane. Although I still have some vision left, I often bump into things when I'm in unfamiliar surroundings. I'm sure the cane will be helpful and make me feel more secure.
There is something I think is important for your readers to know. When they see someone with a white cane, it does not necessarily mean the person is totally blind. I have read of instances where people were using their cane, but perhaps sat down at a bus stop and read a text on their cellphone. These people were accused of being fakes.
I am still able to read a newspaper, but I can no longer drive. I'm unable to see at night, and the loss of my peripheral vision has become dangerous for me. Please let your readers know that a person with a white cane may still be able to see to some degree, but they do need the cane for their own safety. -- SAFETY FIRST
DEAR SAFETY FIRST: Thank you for your letter. When I looked online for more information about white canes, I learned there are many different kinds. They include the "symbol cane" is held to let others know the person is blind or vision-challenged. It's carried when out in public to remind others to be careful about possibly colliding with him or her.
Other canes are the "guide cane" and the "long cane," which are used to detect objects in front of the sightless person, to prevent tripping on curbs, steps or other objects. (There are also red-and-white banded canes, which indicate the person carrying one has a hearing impairment as well as sight loss.)
Readers, I know it's easy to be cynical, but if you see someone with a white cane, please do not accuse the person of faking, because he or she is contending with enough challenges already.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter graduated more than two years ago. I offered to help her with her thank-you notes, but I dropped the ball and never got them completed and sent out. I feel terrible and guilty.
Would it be wrong to send out letters to everyone and explain what happened? Or how else can I resolve this mess and put my conscience to rest? -- PROUD MAMA IN OHIO
DEAR PROUD MAMA: The task of writing thank-you letters was your daughter's responsibility from the start. She should send them out right away, with her apologies. Better late than never.
DEAR ABBY: My twin sister and I are juniors in high school and starting to plan to apply to colleges. It has always been assumed that we would go to the same college and be roommates. My sister still wants it this way. I, however, think it's finally time for some separation. We've been "roommates" our whole lives and shared a bed until we were 14, when Mom finally let us get twin beds for our room.
My sister was hurt and upset when I told her I prefer that we go to separate colleges, and she took it personally. It is nothing personal. I love her with all my heart. I would just like to finally be an individual after us having always being known as "the twins."
Our mom agrees with my sister and tells me stories about friends of hers whose kids ended up with "roommates from hell." She says we have always gotten along beautifully sharing a room, so why argue with success? Well, I'm willing to take my chances. If I get a roommate I don't like, I'll find a way to deal with it.
Please give me your opinion. Also, please give me advice on how to make my sister understand that this is nothing against her. -- TWIN SISTER
DEAR TWIN SISTER: My mother and my aunt were identical twins. Like you, they shared a room and slept in the same bed for many years. Their parents dressed them alike and gave them names that were mirror images (Pauline Esther and Esther Pauline). Like you, my aunt yearned to be an individual. My mother loved the attention that being a twin brought. This created serious conflict for them later in life.
You deserve the chance to spread your wings and be your own person. If you do, you will grow from the experience, and so will your sister. You should not have to "sell" her on this, but explain it to your sister that way. Your mother should be GLAD that you are independent.
DEAR ABBY: I strongly feel this is an issue many women besides me struggle with. Maybe you can offer some insight.
My husband and I have been trying to conceive without success for several years. I don't want to reveal our struggles to friends or family, but how do you handle questions like "Why don't you have a baby yet?" and "When are you giving me grandkids?"
The older we get, the more pointed these questions become. I don't know how to respond. What should I say? I feel like either lying and saying I'm not ready yet, or telling the truth about the possibility of never having children, although I'm sure the questioner doesn't intend to go down the path of "Let's discuss my fertility." -- STRUGGLING IN WEST VIRGINIA
DEAR STRUGGLING: I'm sure many of the questioners have no idea they are delving into a subject that is painful and frustrating for you. Perhaps the most diplomatic answer would be to say, "If I'm lucky enough to be expecting, I will let you know." It shows you are open to the possibility, and it's either going to happen or it won't.
DEAR ABBY: Our daughters aren't speaking. One says she really doesn't "like" the other. These are mature women who have had their differences throughout their lives. But they have tolerated each other, one more than the other.
The older one claims her sister posted not-so-nice things about her. The younger one threatens not to attend any gatherings if her sister is there. This needs to be resolved before years go by and our family is torn apart.
They stopped speaking a month ago -- on their dad's birthday yet. It was one of the worst days of our lives. We're in our 80s, and I may never again see them together. The older one says she's willing to go to counseling, but the younger refuses.
We're desperate for a reconciliation. They don't have to be best friends, just be civil and tolerate a holiday together for our sake. Please advise. -- HELPLESS AND SAD IN DALLAS
DEAR HELPLESS AND SAD: Unless both of your daughters are willing to accept counseling or mediation, they will not reconcile. For your younger daughter to resort to emotional blackmail ("if she's there, I won't be") is despicable. Please do not give in to it. Tell her that if she decides to change her mind, she's always welcome, and then proceed without her. You may be desperate for a reconciliation, but until your daughters are, it won't happen and you will have to accept it.
DEAR ABBY: Recently I was listening to a couple talking about who and who not to invite to a wedding because seating was limited.
I'm wondering whether there would be anything wrong with sending out a letter stating that although they would like to invite everyone, seating is limited. Explain that, of course, immediate family (parents, siblings and their spouses) would be invited without exception. However, the remaining seating would be on a "lottery" basis. If people accept the invitation, they would be in the lottery and then notified of the results.
Is this acceptable? I think it would solve a lot of problems. Just wondering. -- JUST A THOUGHT IN OHIO
DEAR JUST A THOUGHT: If I were you, I would forget this concept. Depending upon the size of the guest list, I strongly suspect it would offend anyone who didn't "win" the lottery.
DEAR ABBY: I sometimes have social anxiety. I would like to go out with friends and acquaintances, but I worry I won't have enough to talk about or won't know what to say, and it makes me nervous. Do you have any advice? -- LONER IN ILLINOIS
DEAR LONER: Almost everyone has social anxiety to some extent. If your only worry is that you won't have enough to talk about, don't let it stop you. Most people like to talk about themselves and will appreciate a good listener.
If you would like to bring up topics, listen to the news or read your newspaper and jot down a few topics. If your level of anxiety is so high that you cannot interact with others, then it's time to discuss it with your physician and ask for a referral to someone who can give you medical and psychological help.
DEAR ABBY: I live in a 55-plus community. I am younger than my husband by 10 years, so I was 49 when we moved here. We have lost 49 neighbors during the past five years -- yes, seriously. Others are in nursing homes with no quality of life.
While walking my dog yesterday, a neighbor stopped me. She was standing in her driveway crying and nearly hysterical. Her husband has been in a nursing home for three years. He doesn't know what is going on or who she is. She told me that she visits him every day, but she cannot stand it anymore. She said she wants to kill herself, but isn't strong enough to do it.
They are in their 80s and had a wonderful 50-year marriage. He is not on life support, but has just been lying there for all this time. What can she do? What can I do to help her? -- LISA IN FLORIDA
DEAR LISA: Your poor neighbor was having an awful day. You already helped by listening to her and allowing her to vent. However, she needs to be able to do a lot more of it, and a way to help her further would be to suggest she talk to a doctor who specializes in the needs of older patients (a geriatrician). There may be a support group in your 55-plus community she could join, and she should be encouraged to do more for herself than she has been.
If she doesn't know of a doctor to consult, ask your physician if he/she knows someone who is good. Doctors usually refer patients to doctors at their own level of competence. She could also inquire in the facility her husband is at and ask about support groups there as well.
DEAR ABBY: My son, "Allen," is 27 and a pretty good writer, mostly fantasy stuff. I don't like that genre myself, but I have enjoyed reading some of his work. He writes not only short stories but also entire books.
I have tried to convince him to submit his work to publishers to no avail. He has a college degree, but doesn't use it. He's content working a minimum-wage job when he could be doing what he loves AND possibly make a living at it. Oh! And he still lives at home and does very little work around the house. Advice, please? -- FRUSTRATED FATHER
DEAR FRUSTRATED FATHER: Has it occurred to you that your son may be in a comfortable rut? I assume you have already spoken to him regarding his lack of ambition. While his job may not be what you think he's capable of doing, it may allow him the time to write. He may hesitate to submit his work to publishers because he's afraid rejection would be too painful.
Not knowing your son, I can't guess his reasons for living the life he has chosen. However, if what's really bothering you is the fact that at 27 he's still living at home and not helping enough around the house, that is fixable. Explain what you expect of him if he's going to continue to stay there, and if he doesn't live up to his responsibilities, tell him he will have to leave. It's your home and you have a right to be assertive about what goes on in it.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I went on a trip with his brother and his wife recently. Three days into the trip, while we were having dinner at a restaurant, my sister-in-law yelled at me, "Shut up! You talk too much!" I was stunned. Then my husband said, "I agree with her." Words cannot express how surprised and hurt I felt.
I do sometimes talk a lot when I'm excited, but no one has ever said this to me, certainly not my husband. The next day I felt very angry, especially at my husband for siding with her against me in public. I asked him to please tell me when we are alone if he has a problem with something I said or did, rather than embarrass me. I feel betrayed and angry. What should I do? -- ANGRY AND HURT
DEAR ANGRY AND HURT: Your feelings are justified. Your sister-in-law may have been frustrated at your verbosity, but she should not have attacked you at the dinner table. Her "helpful criticism" should have been offered privately and in gentler terms. The same is true about your husband, who should not have ganged up on you. What he did was hurtful, not helpful. Both of them owe you an apology.
DEAR ABBY: My fiancee and I had a party. A very good friend of mine came with her 4-year-old daughter, "Emma." It grew late and my friend wanted to stay for a while, so we put Emma in our bed to sleep (the guest room was unavailable).
After going upstairs to get Emma later in the evening, my friend came downstairs with Emma and told us that the child had wet our bed. Not wanting to make Emma feel bad, we said it was no problem.
My friend did not strip the bed, offer to wash the sheets, or anything. She hasn't mentioned it since, and didn't follow up to make sure we were able to get the urine out of our bedding and the mattress. I find this to be incredibly rude and inconsiderate, but at the same time, what's done is done and there was no lasting damage. Should I say something to my friend, or let it go? -- ACCIDENT IN THE BEDROOM
DEAR ACCIDENT: Let it go. You should have spoken up about your true feelings when the accident happened. In the future, consider purchasing a moisture-resistant mattress cover for your bed and the one in the guest room in case of "accidents." It may reduce the "ick" factor if you're squeamish.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069