Dear Abby


by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I grew up in a big lower-class family in which there has always been drama, fights, gossip, etc. I made a vow to myself that when I had my own family, I would raise them better. I keep myself and my children distanced from all of that. Am I wrong for keeping them away from my family? I don't like drama or problems. Sometimes I miss my family, but after a while, I get overwhelmed. -- SEPARATE IN CHICAGO

DEAR SEPARATE: As a parent, your responsibility is to protect your children. If you feel exposing them to something might be harmful, you are within your rights to keep them away. However, if you are raising your children in a healthy environment, exposing them to your family drama in LIMITED DOSES isn't likely to be harmful. Afterward, if your relatives behaved badly, use it as a teaching moment. Use them as a "bad example" and point out that in YOUR family, you do not behave that way.

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DEAR ABBY: I am a single man who recently turned 40. I am looking to find a wife who, like myself, has never been married and has no kids. I joined several dating websites, but most of the women are divorced or widowed or have kids.

I just discovered a new dating website for single, never married people. I'm not sure if I should join it, but having a website designed for people like me is a great idea. I have read that 25% of all Americans have never been married. Pew Research just reported a brand-new poll and millions of Americans have never been married, so I am not losing hope. Should I join? -- CONTEMPLATING IN FLORIDA

DEAR CONTEMPLATING: By all means, explore that new dating site. When you do, expect to meet women who are considerably younger than you. Remember, however, that once you connect, you will have to take all of the precautions that people on other sites do to ensure that you do not get misled. Dating, regardless of how you meet someone, can be risky. I wish you luck.

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DEAR ABBY: I have a neighbor who lives across the street. She's in her late 70s. We've been friendly until recently, when she came to visit with me for coffee. We talked about many different things that day. She had brought me a present and homemade cookies, which was nice.

When I mentioned something that apparently she didn't like or believe, she stood up, announced that she didn't come over to feel "uncomfortable" and left in a huff! I emailed her and sent a handwritten apology, but she hasn't spoken to me since. What should I do with her unopened gift and cookies? I don't feel comfortable accepting them. -- DAZED AND CONFUSED

DEAR D & C: How sad that your neighbor wasn't able to tell you what it was you said that made her so uncomfortable she felt she had to end the relationship. (Perhaps you could have straightened it out at the time.) However, her decision seems to have been made, and you will have to accept it. Because you now feel uncomfortable accepting them, return her gift and the cookies.

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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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.) (EDITORS: If you have editorial questions, please contact Clint Hooker, [email protected].)

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