DEAR ABBY: My son and his wife have been together 10 years. They met and fell in love young. They are only 25 and have two beautiful children.
I remarried three years ago, and my son's wife was instantly attracted to my 54-year-old husband. It's always uncomfortable for the two of us when they come to visit. She stares at him throughout the entire visit, tries to either sit right next to him or directly across from him, and expects a hug every time they arrive and leave. (We finally put a stop to it because she would wait to hug him last and then hold him extra long.)
My husband confided that he's flattered a 25-year-old gives him that much attention. Three years of this can be very wearing. Anything I can do and NOT lose my son? -- AWKWARD IN THE EAST
DEAR AWKWARD: Tell your son that it appears his wife has a crush on your husband, and that while he is flattered that someone so young would find him attractive, her behavior makes both of you uncomfortable. Then let him explain to her that it is time to cool her engines.
DEAR ABBY: I have been best friends with a woman for 30 years, but lately our relationship has become strained. If I do something that irritates her, she gives me the cold shoulder and won't return my phone calls. When she eventually calls back, she's distant and cold.
I was out of the country for an extended period, and when I returned, she was upset with me for not phoning her. Now she's upset with me because my husband and I missed an important milestone because of a family emergency.
I am tired of her passive-aggressive behavior, and I have come to realize that our lives have taken us in different directions. Mine is family-oriented. Hers is not because she has no children. Am I wrong to feel this way? -- FRUSTRATED IN NEW MEXICO
DEAR FRUSTRATED: No, your perception is accurate. Your "bestie" appears to be unusually high maintenance. Rather than allow her to make you feel guilty, realize that not all friendships last forever, and this one may have run its course. Talk to her and express your feelings about this, but be prepared for the fact that it will probably end your relationship.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are in our 60s. We have been married for some time and are very open-minded. She keeps insisting that she does not remember her first sexual experience. I would be curious to understand why in the world, unless someone was inebriated, the person would not recall this huge milestone. -- BEWILDERED IN THE WEST
DEAR BEWILDERED: Not every question needs an answer. If your wife's first experience was unpleasant or traumatic, she may have repressed the memory. Or she may simply prefer not to discuss it with you. My intuition tells me that you will have nothing to gain by continuing to push her. If you do, it not only won't bring you closer; it may do the opposite.
DEAR ABBY: I am president and co-founder of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, one of the leading teaching and research hospitals for wildlife medicine in the world. We have treated more than 70,000 wild patients since our organization was established 35 years ago. Like the reader ("An Apple a Day," Aug. 11) who is under the impression that throwing an apple core out the car window is doing something positive for the Earth, many individuals make "little" decisions without considering the unintended consequences.
The example of the apple core has been at the heart of our education program for more than three decades. Before throwing that apple core out the window believing that some small animal will come finish what's left, people should consider what will happen if the animal coming to eat their scraps happens to be on the other side of the road.
Throwing out that apple core will lure that creature into harm's way. Countless opossums, raccoons, skunks and other small mammals are killed every day because of human food waste on the shoulder of the road. And it doesn't stop there. Predators like owls also suffer. They hunt along the side of the road, not because they eat apple cores, but because they eat the mice, voles and other small animals who are attracted to feed on that apple core. Then, when the opossum, raccoon or owl is killed by a car, scavengers are attracted to the pavement, where their lives, too, are at risk.
If readers want to help the Earth, they should take their waste home and dispose of it or recycle it properly. The small act of throwing an apple core out of a car window can cost the lives of the very creatures they claim to want to help. -- EDWARD CLARK, WAYNESBORO, VA.
DEAR MR. CLARK: When that letter appeared, I received a flurry of mail about it. Many readers touched on some of the points you have expressed. Thank you for writing so eloquently to educate my readers -- and me. Lesson learned.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 29 and I'm having trouble holding down a steady job. I am a college graduate, and it's not because I don't like to work. My problem is I have a strong personality and I tend to butt heads with management. Deep down, I think I'll only be satisfied with a job if I'm the boss or own my own business. Do you have any suggestions about positions for someone who can't handle having a boss? -- MISS INDEPENDENT IN THE BRONX
DEAR MISS INDEPENDENT: No. Unless someone has rich parents or a magic lamp, most people have to work for -- or with -- others until they build enough capital to start a business. Even then, business owners must interact with clients they don't always agree with. Because you tend to butt heads with those in management positions, you would be wise to start working on becoming more patient and less dogmatic. Both qualities will help you in the future if you can develop them.
DEAR ABBY: The winter months are hard for me. They remind me that another year has gone by without my father and my younger sister.
Dad had been a smoker since his teens and died from pancreatic cancer at 39. I was 13, and my siblings were younger. In those days, we didn't know that smoking was a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.
My sister smoked from the time she was 13. She died from lung cancer at 44, leaving behind two young sons.
Neither my father nor my sister got to experience the wonderful family milestones and celebrations we have had. Their grandchildren will never know them. Each year during the holidays, I feel a sadness in my heart.
I urge every smoker to make a vow to quit and carry it through, not only for their own sake but also their family's. Stay determined to quit so you won't cause your loved ones sadness and won't miss out on their futures. With all my heart, I wish smokers the best of luck in quitting. -- MISSING DAD AND SIS IN SACRAMENTO
DEAR MISSING: I'm glad you wrote because the American Cancer Society's annual Great American Smokeout will be held on Nov. 16. It's a day when millions of smokers put down their cigarettes -- just for one day -- with the conviction that if they can go 24 hours without one, then they can do it for 48 hours, 72 hours, and stop smoking for good. The idea grew out of a 1970 event in Randolph, Massachusetts, and became a national event in 1977.
Readers, I'm not going to harangue you with death threats. We are all aware of the grim statistics associated with cancer-related deaths caused by tobacco. If you're interested in quitting, this is a perfect opportunity. Call (800) 227-2345 to be connected with counseling services in your community, provided with self-help materials offering information and strategies on quitting for good, and to receive information about medications available to help you quit. This service is free and provided 24/7. Or go online to cancer.org.
DEAR ABBY: I need your help. Over the past few weeks, I have been vacationing at my mother-in-law's home. The other day I was browsing on her computer and accidentally opened her browsing history. It turns out that she regularly looks at and responds to Craigslist personals.
I was shocked when I read some of the perverted requests she has responded to. The language she used would make a sailor blush. Keep in mind, my mother-in-law is a married woman.
I don't know how to react. Should I tell my wife? Keep it to myself? Make a fake Craigslist post and catch her in the act? -- KINKS IN THE FAMILY
DEAR KINKS: If you disclose this to your wife, it could damage her relationship with her mother. If she tells her mother what you found, it will create a breach in the family. If you trap the woman by creating a fake Craigslist post and she realizes she has been made a fool of, it will not -- to put it mildly -- endear you to her. Let it lie.
DEAR ABBY: I am in a predicament. My therapist is great, but sometimes I think she shares too much. Last time I went, she was running late. When I finally got into her office, she told me the previous patient was nonverbal and had painted her nails during the session. Later in the session, she confided that years ago she had been date raped.
Abby, I am in counseling because my father raped me when I was 15 (I am now 24). Her sharing has me worried because I don't want her telling others what I say or do during counseling. Further, her story of the date rape scared me. She described a situation that is not uncommon for me to be in, and it caused something almost like a flashback in me. I think what she did was insensitive, to say the least.
I have nobody else to ask, so what should I do? I'm getting counseling for free now due to my income, and it took months to get set up with a counselor. Should I report her or accept that this was a mistake and say nothing? If I need to report her, how would I go about doing that? -- CONFLICTED ABOUT IT
DEAR CONFLICTED: You should change therapists because it appears this one has more problems than you do. As to what agency you should report her breach of professional ethics to, contact the state organization that has licensed her to practice.
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