DEAR READERS: Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and no Thanksgiving would be complete without my sharing the traditional prayer penned by my dear late mother:
Oh, Heavenly Father,
We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service,
That Thy gifts to us may be used for others.
Have a happy and safe celebration, everyone! -- Love, ABBY
DEAR ABBY: I've dealt with anxiety and depression for decades, but I'm finally on a medication that works for me. I'm in my 40s and feel emotionally stable for the first time in my adult life. When I started the medication, I was in a bad place, but after a few months I broke up with my partner and began focusing on my career.
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It has been a couple of years now, and I have no sex drive at all. I have been feeling the desire to start dating again, but even if I meet someone, I doubt my libido will return while I'm on this medication, which would be unfair to the other person. I'm afraid my choice is between future relationships and my mental health. My doctor offered to add another drug that might help, but it took so long to find something that works, I don't want to start experimenting again. Can you offer any advice? -- GOTTEN THIS FAR IN ILLINOIS
DEAR GOTTEN: I am pleased to know that after so much trial and error you've finally found a medication that has allowed you to get your life back. I urge you to listen to your doctor. If your physician thinks there is something that might help, give it a try. If it disrupts the strides you have made, you can always stop. But please don't deprive yourself of the opportunity to live a fuller life.
DEAR ABBY: I am engaged to "George," a wonderful man who has adult children. He and his ex went through a bitter divorce several years ago. His children mainly blame him, but he still tries to maintain relationships with them.
The younger two seem to have accepted it over time. His oldest daughter, however, is very close to her mother and still bitter. She's getting married and has expressed to him that she doesn't want him to bring any guests. George and I have been living together for the last year, and it was never a secret that we were dating before then. I don't know how to feel about this. I have no relationship with his children, but I would like to be there. How should I address this? -- LEFT OUT IN THE EAST
DEAR LEFT OUT: In plain English. Ask George how he feels about being expected to go unaccompanied to his daughter's wedding in light of the fact he has been cohabiting with you for a year. (Is he expected to participate?) When you do, point out to your fiance that if his daughter is allowed to dictate this, it will be only the beginning, because there will be other milestones from which you are also excluded.
DEAR ABBY: When my boyfriend talks about women, he doesn't always refer to them by their name. In most cases, I don't know the individual. But even if he does refer to her by name, what bothers me is he always follows it by describing her boobs (i.e., "the one with the big boobs, she has got to be at least a 42D, they stick straight out," or, "she's petite with a very small waistline"). Yet, he says he loves my figure and always expresses he loves the way I'm built.
I have ignored the "big boob" comments because (I'm guessing) he gets some kind of satisfaction from making them, so I have gone along with it. However, it is becoming increasingly annoying. How can I get him to stop these comments and either refer to the women by name, or "Jerry's wife, "the woman" or "the lady"? Frankly, I'm not interested in the description; her name will suffice. Also, can you explain why he always slips in the description of the woman's anatomy? -- MORE THAN A BODY
DEAR MORE: A direct way to get your boyfriend to cut it out would be to tell him in plain English that the graphic description of these women's anatomy is a huge turnoff. As to your second question, your boyfriend does it because this is how he classifies the females he meets. He does not view them as individuals; he identifies them according to their anatomy.
DEAR ABBY: On two occasions, I have given my girlfriend money (several thousand dollars) to help her cover medical expenses. Both times her father promised to pay me back. He made good on his promise the first time, but it has been almost two months since I fronted the money and he hasn't paid me back. He promised to do it when he got paid, but he has "gotten paid" several times since.
I'm considering taking him to small claims court. It wouldn't be his first time in that situation. Am I cheap? Or am I right for wanting to be repaid? If I'm right, how should I proceed? -- UNPAID IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR UNPAID: You were kind to front the money for your girlfriend's medical treatment. Her father should not have promised to repay you if he didn't intend to follow through. Contact him again and see if you can't agree on a payment plan that will be easier for him than paying you a lump sum. But if that doesn't work, I hope you got the promise he made IN WRITING. If you didn't, and you take him to small claims court, you will have no proof to show a judge.
That said, if you DO have something in writing, proceed by contacting the county clerk in the small claims court district closest to where her father lives, fill out a "statement of claim" form at the clerk's office and pay the filing fee. I wish you luck!
DEAR ABBY: My best friend is retired and alone, as am I. She recently moved next door so we can help each other if needed.
Since COVID, we feel safe seeing each other because we never go out in public places and all our shopping is done with delivery or curbside pickup. She doesn't like to cook, but I love to, so most evenings she's invited to dinner. She comes over about four times a week and usually takes home the leftovers for the other nights.
What bothers me is I usually eat dinner at the same time, and I remind her of it each time I invite her, yet she's invariably late. At first it was just a minute or two, but it's getting later and later. Tonight I waited 20 minutes for her.
I time my dishes to the minute, and I like my food hot and not overcooked. I don't want to make a big deal out of this, but I'm becoming increasingly irritated. Any suggestions on how I can get the message across without jeopardizing our friendship? -- FRESH MEALS IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR FRESH: Your friend may be disorganized or just plain thoughtless. The next time you invite her, tell her that because you like your dinner hot -- and not overcooked -- you will start eating at the appointed time and no longer continue to wait for her. You don't have to be mean about it, just firm, and then follow through.
DEAR ABBY: I am 20-something years old, and my father still hits my behind sometimes. I feel it is inappropriate, but the last time I complained about it, several years ago, it didn't go over well. It also didn't stop his behavior. What else can I do?
Right now all I can do is try not to place myself in a position where my behind is exposed. I no longer walk in front of him or wear leggings, and I wear oversized jackets to cover it. I'm a modest dresser. I'm not provocative. Did people back in the day normally "playfully" hit their adult daughters' behinds? -- INAPPROPRIATE IN IDAHO
DEAR INAPPROPRIATE: No, they did not. Your daddy is acting like a dirty old man. His behavior may seem "playful" to him, but to persist after you asked him not to is not only inappropriate but also somewhat creepy.
You are an adult. No one has a right to hit, swat or put his hands on you regardless of how he claims it's intended. Tell him again that you don't like it and it makes you uncomfortable, and if he persists, he will see far less of his daughter.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I grew up in very conservative households. Since college (where we met) and moving to a large city, we have become more liberal. We have friends of other races with whom we are very close, but both of our families frequently post inflammatory and offensive, racially biased comments on social media. Do we have a duty because of our beliefs and our friends to publicly object to their posts? We have previously discussed our differences with these family members, and we don't see eye to eye. -- DIFFERENT NOW IN TEXAS
DEAR DIFFERENT: Because you have already discussed your differences privately with these relatives, feel free to post your reaction to the offensive posts. They won't like you for it, and the rest of the tribe may gang up on you, but you and your husband will be able to look at yourselves in the mirror knowing you spoke aloud your truth.
DEAR ABBY: My wife of nine years has been faking a disability for seven of them. Yes, she was injured. However, I and many others are not convinced she's in chronic pain. She doesn't take her medication, and she functions like she did before her injury. This has had a detrimental effect on my life as well as our sons' because we have to live with her lies. When confronted, she denies it, and so does her family. -- STUCK IN THE LIE
DEAR STUCK: Your wife should be examined by a pain management specialist. Whether she's in physical pain, psychological pain or faking can be determined by a medical doctor and possibly a licensed therapist who understands PTSD, depending upon how she was injured. For your sake, your sons' and hers, you owe it to yourselves to find out what the cause is.
Of course, this suggestion depends on your wife agreeing to the examination. If you are correct in your suspicions, you may want to rethink whether this is how you want to live the rest of your life.
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