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Couple's Difference in Age Causes Girl's Family to Worry

DEAR ABBY: I'm 17 and dating this older guy. Everyone is afraid that one day I'll just disappear, but he isn't like that. I know him from when I was younger, and my dad and his dad were really close. People just don't trust me, even though I have told them nothing but the full truth from the start. I'm happy. What should I do? -- MISUNDERSTOOD IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR MISUNDERSTOOD: It might help if you ask this young man to talk to your parents about his interest in you. If he is nice, respectful and employed or in school, they may be less suspicious about his intentions.


DEAR ABBY: Two years ago we lost a very close friend of mine, not to death but to a relationship. "Ben" is the most genuine, caring and loving person you could ever meet. He and my sister dated for what seemed like forever, but unfortunately it didn't work out. We were all devastated. Still, after their relationship ended, he was around because he had become like a member of our family.

Ben finally met a great woman he cared for. We were all happy he had found someone and maybe he'd finally be the great dad we knew he could be. Our family loved his new girlfriend, and welcomed her to all gatherings as she was an extension of him.

Six months to a year into their relationship, we learned that Ben failed to mention to her that he and my sister had been an item for many years (engaged at one point). When she found out, she demanded that he stop talking to us. We even had a "goodbye" dinner with him.

Ben is now married to his then-girlfriend. I miss him dearly and think about him every week as he was that important to me. He attended all birthdays, graduations, etc., and he has now missed many of them. I always thought he would be the "uncle" my children never had.

Would it be selfish or unfair to him if I approached his wife about letting us back into his life? -- MISS HIM DEARLY

DEAR MISS HIM: I don't think it would be selfish or unfair to Ben, but depending upon the level of his wife's insecurity, it may be unsuccessful. Ben should have been honest with her from the beginning about his connection to your family. That the information was withheld from her may be why she reacted the way she did.


DEAR ABBY: My cousin was hard up and needed a place to stay because where she was wasn't a good place for her. I told her she could stay with us, there was no need for her to pay rent because everything was already covered, and to just help with groceries. Well, she has been here a while now and she not only hasn't pitched in, but also helps herself to our car since she doesn't have one.

You tend to have the best advice. Please tell me what to do, because I'm not sure. -- FAMILY FIRST? IN INDIANA

DEAR F.F.: Have a talk with your cousin and repeat the agreement you had with her before she moved in. Then tell her that if she doesn't start living up to it, she will have to make other living arrangements.

P.S. If you don't want her using your car, don't let her have the keys.


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.


Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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