Dear Abby For Singles
Here's some fun Dear Abby pieces about singles to enjoy while I take a late spring break. See you next week!
Inappropriate Online Dating
DEAR ABBY: I am a 38-year-old woman with an outgoing personality. However, when I first meet a man, I move slowly.
If I agree to a date, I meet him at a public place. After a few dates, I'll share my e-mail address so we can communicate more easily. And, Abby, that's when the trouble starts.
Over the past few years, several men have e-mailed me nude photos of themselves after I gave them my contact information. I'm not a prude, but I feel it was disrespectful. I broke up with each of them and deleted their photos from my computer.
Please lend me some advice and insight here. Until then, I'm considering remaining single forever. -- SEEN IT ALL IN SAN ANTONIO
DEAR SEEN IT ALL: I'm surprised you didn't sign yourself "Seen Too Much." Where are you meeting these creepy individuals? Before the Internet, they used to be called "flashers."
Because this has happened to you more than once in the past few years, it's time to ask yourself if somehow you may have given the impression that you would be receptive to this kind of contact. In other words, think about the signals you may be sending after a few dates.
DEAR ABBY: With the holidays coming, I know I'll be spending time with my boyfriend's family. Every time I see his father (who is a poor excuse for a dad) he asks when I'm going to give him grandbabies.
This has gone on for five years. I am not even married to his son, and I don't plan on having any children. He makes me feel like I don't deserve his son if I don't have children. (My boyfriend already has a son from a previous relationship.) I have tried to answer him nicely. I have even tried to be rude, but he just doesn't get it!
I would like to know how to respond to him. I certainly do not want it to affect his family's Christmas, but I feel I should stick up for myself. Please help. -- WANTS NO BABIES IN NEW YORK
DEAR WANTS NO BABIES: Smile and tell the nervy gentleman he can expect you to give him grandbabies after you start feeling maternal, and when you begin to feel maternal he'll be the first to know. Do not pick a fight with him, and don't spend much time with him. Apparently, your boyfriend got his brains from his mother.
Dodged A Bullet
DEAR ABBY: I fell in love with "Alex" during my last year of college. We had known each other for 18 months. One month before our wedding, he broke up with me. He says I was verbally abusive.
I admit I had anger issues. I had to plan most of the wedding alone because we were four hours apart. When we argued, he would say one thing and then something different later. He would also tell his mom stuff about me and our relationship that I considered private. After the breakup, I found out he had lied to me about his religion.
I had a hard time with the breakup. I tried hard to reconcile or find solutions, but he rejected all of them. Now he's blaming me and throwing things in my face.
I am heartbroken and depressed. I don't know if I should be mad at him for the lies and the heartache he has caused me, or mad at myself for messing up. I have lost my confidence and self-esteem. What do I do? -- STILL IN LOVE
DEAR STILL IN LOVE: Take off the rose-colored glasses for a moment and consider what the reality of a marriage to Alex would have been like. You would have had a mama's boy for a husband, one you couldn't count on to tell the truth and who blamed you for anything that went wrong.
Don't you realize you dodged a bullet? If things had turned out differently, you'd be writing me as an unhappy wife, probably with children to support.
Let it go, get help for your anger issues and don't waste more time brooding. There are times it is better that we don't get the things we wish for, and this may be one of them.
Man Who Doesn't Want Kids
DEAR ABBY: When I turned 25, after considering it for years, I went to my doctor and told him I wanted to become sterile. I got a vasectomy two months later. I haven't had any regrets, and now at 27, I'm still firmly convinced that I don't want children -- ever.
I started dating a woman a year ago, "Anita," who told me that if she never had kids, she could live with it. I felt lucky to have found someone who would be OK with no kids.
I have had a few issues with Anita. When she gets upset from time to time, she says that if she stays with me, she will never have kids. I know she cares for me deeply, but I also believe she feels conflicted about giving up the chance to be a mother.
Do you think it's fair for me to pursue this relationship and hope that eventually she'll come to terms with not having children with me? Or should I end the relationship so she can find someone who shares her desire to become a parent? I worry that if I end it, it may take years before I find someone who shares my wish to never be a parent. -- NO KIDS IN COLORADO
DEAR NO KIDS: You have been upfront with Anita. She understands that you do not want children, and that you have taken steps to ensure it won't happen. She's correct that if she stays with you, she will never have any.
For both your sakes, the two of you need to talk this through once and for all, because if Anita is ambivalent about forgoing motherhood, she does need to find another life partner. And you need to let her do that.
Middle-Schooler decides between Two Boys
DEAR ABBY: I am an 11-year-old girl in middle school. There are two boys I like. One of them is someone I've known for two years and is a really good friend. The other boy I don't know anything about. I like him because he's cute.
What I like about the first guy is that he's funny, smart, looks good and we like the same things. I don't know which to pick. Please help! -- INTERESTED IN OREGON
DEAR INTERESTED: At 11, you don't have to pick either one. Enjoy both for what they have to offer and, in time, you won't have to ask anyone else to decide for you. In fact, you may even find a third someone who offers the same qualities you like in both of these boys in one package and who likes you back.
Ghost of Broken Engagement
DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend and I have talked about becoming engaged. The subject of the wedding dress came up. She broke off a past engagement last year, and she has asked me whether it would be OK for her to use the dress she chose for the wedding that didn't happen. She says only her mother and the seamstress have seen it. She doesn't want to be out $1,000 and says she does not associate the gown with her ex-fiance.
I feel we should try to sell the dress, although it was tailored for her, and pick a new one. What do you think is appropriate? I don't like the idea of looking back at the wedding photos and thinking the dress was meant for another man. -- FUTURE HUSBAND IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
DEAR HUSBAND: Actually, the dress was meant for your fiancee and not another man. There are specialists who can redesign an existing wedding dress. However, because you have negative associations with this gown, offer to sweeten the pot by chipping in if she can't get $1,000 for the one she has. I think the most "appropriate" thing on your wedding day should be that you are both comfortable, happy and, above all, in sync.
Happy Single Man Feels Pressure From His Friends
DEAR ABBY: I have never had a long-term relationship. My friends and family kept calling me out for it. I tried online dating and setups by friends and family, but nothing worked out. In fact, the constant questions only annoyed me more. With all my friends happily married and settled, I started resenting their intrusion into my life.
A couple of years ago, I decided to take a break from dating because I couldn't handle the stress anymore. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it. I never revealed this to my friends. After a few years of silence, my "well-wishers" began commenting again on my single status, and it annoys me to no end. I have started staying away from them.
Is there any way I can convince everyone that I am a normal straight male who just likes to be left alone? I enjoy get-togethers, as long as the topic of my singlehood doesn't become the joke of the day. Please advise. -- PRETTY COOL DUDE IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR PRETTY COOL DUDE: Talk to some of your close friends and tell them you are happy being single. Tell them their comments about your single status and being made to feel like the "joke of the day" isn't funny to you -- it's embarrassing. Tell them, just as you told me, that if it doesn't stop, they will be seeing less of you. Friends will be sensitive to your feelings, although occasionally they still may try to fix you up because some people can't resist the urge to matchmake.
Woman Misses Affection That Fiance Shows Pets
DEAR ABBY: My fiance, "Bubba," and I have a small disagreement that I would love your take on. He constantly complains that he's too tired, or annoyed or busy, to show me romantic or friendly affection and attention. But he goes out of his way to snuggle and play with our two dogs and cat.
I get jealous when he kisses our dogs over and over again, or stays up later to play with the cat. He thinks I am overreacting.
Am I being petty, or am I justified in thinking that if he has the time and energy to give affection and love to our animals, he should do the same for the woman he's about to make his wife? -- INSULTED IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR INSULTED: You're not overreacting or being petty. Perhaps when Bubba is cuddling the animals, you should remind him that humans need to feel loved in the same way they do. Bubba appears to be extremely insensitive. Please reconsider your engagement, because if you marry Bubba, you may end up starving for affection for as long as the marriage lasts.
Woman Isn't Attracted to Man of Her Dreams
DEAR ABBY: I am considered to be a quite attractive -- easily a nine or a 10 -- professional dancer here in Las Vegas. I recently met a guy who has literally met almost all my dream qualities for a life partner, husband and father of my future children.
The problem is, I'm not attracted to him. He's not ugly; he has symmetrical features, straight teeth, nice skin and is in pretty good shape, if a little on the skinny side. I have always dated muscular, very fit men who get me excited at the sight of them, and I'm wondering if there's something wrong with me because after nine months I'm still struggling with his looks.
I feel like there is no sexual chemistry. But we have another kind of chemistry because we get along great, and he motivates me to be a better person.
Am I shallow, or is the lack of sexual chemistry a sign that maintaining a successful long-term relationship won't happen? -- MISS PICKY IN LAS VEGAS
DEAR MISS PICKY: I'm not going to call you shallow. Whether lack of sexual chemistry is a deal-breaker for you depends upon how important sex is to you. From what you have told me, looks are a primary factor in what draws you to men. (It would be interesting to know how long the relationships you described lasted.)
Bear in mind that men who are Adonises can lose their looks if they don't consistently work at it -- just as women do. Much as we might wish it, looks don't always last forever. That's why, if you're looking for a long-term relationship, it's extremely important to take into consideration qualities that will last.
New Girlfriend Has a Mustache
DEAR ABBY: I recently started dating a woman I have been friends with for a few years. She's smart, funny, has many wonderful qualities, and I'm starting to fall in love with her.
She's attractive -- except for one thing that could easily be fixed. I don't know if I'm being shallow, so if that's the case, please tell me. She has a bit of a mustache.
Is there a way I can tactfully ask her to remove it without hurting her feelings? Or should I just be grateful I found someone who wants to be with me and keep quiet? -- TACTFULLY CHALLENGED
DEAR CHALLENGED: If you and this lady have been friends for years, you should know each other well enough to level with each other. Because the mustache is "distracting," ask her why she has never done anything about it. However, if she opts to keep it, you'll have to love her just as she is.
Good Manners Are in Short Supply
DEAR ABBY: I am recently divorced and now seeing a wonderful woman who is pretty much everything I was looking for except for a couple of issues, which concern going out to eat -- which we do often. Not once has she offered to pay for a meal.
I make good money, but she is not financially strapped by any means. While I can live with her not paying, what annoys me is she rarely says thank you after a dinner date. Once, she ordered a to-go selection to take home to her daughter. I paid for it, but again got no thanks. When we arrived at her house, she gave the food to her daughter without mentioning that I had bought it for her.
Other than her manners, she's a great gal and I'm happy we're together. Am I being petty and overly sensitive? My ex-wife never appreciated me, so I guess it's a sore spot. How should I approach this without jeopardizing everything else? -- HESITANT TO SPEAK UP IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR HESITANT: Your great gal has poor manners. Approach it by telling her exactly what you have written to me. Then ask her why she never says thank you and didn't bother to give you credit when you did something nice for her daughter.
Either this woman never learned basic manners, or she takes you for granted. And if this is a pattern with all the women in your life, it's important you understand why and do something about it before you marry again or you will never be happy.
DEAR ABBY: Is nitpicking a poor trait to have? I see it as a positive thing as long as matters are brought up in a helpful way. If you want a healthy relationship with the person you live with, isn't it best to tell her what you think should be done and how?
Two examples: My girlfriend likes to take her socks off when she's lying on the couch. She rolls them off her feet with the opposite foot and they sometimes end up in the corner of the couch, but most of the time on the floor. Also, dishes never get rinsed off, washed or put away on time. The sock thing is gross, and the dishes end up stinking or the food gets stuck on them. Also, the dishes sit in the strainer, not the cupboard.
My girlfriend thinks I go overboard and bombard her with these suggestions. I'd like to know how you and your readers feel about nitpicking. -- LIKES THINGS NEAT IN LOUISVILLE
DEAR LIKES THINGS NEAT: I find it interesting that you used the term "nitpicking." Is that what your girlfriend calls it when you tell her she's doing something that bothers you? Nitpicking encompasses more than asking someone to pick up her socks or not leave the dishes in the sink or on the counter. (If she washes them, shouldn't YOU put them into the cupboard?)
There are few things that a neatnik finds more upsetting than living with someone who is disorganized. You and your girlfriend appear to have some very basic differences. If you're planning to make this romance a lifelong commitment, I'm warning both of you in advance that you can't change another person. Got it?
Online Dates Never Become Face-to-Face Meetings
DEAR ABBY: I have been communicating for three months with a gentleman I met on an online dating site. He says he wants to meet me in person, but every time we get close to setting a time and place, something comes up and he can't keep the date. We live in the same city, so traveling isn't the problem. When I ask why he's canceling our date, the answer is different every time.
I am beginning to think he just wants to communicate via email or chat. We have web-cammed and know what each other looks like, so that is probably not the issue, either. Should I keep waiting him out or just end it? -- PUZZLED IN INDIANA
DEAR PUZZLED: By now it should be obvious that you are carrying on a conversation with someone who doesn't keep his word. He may be married or have misrepresented himself in some other way. If you want a real, flesh-and-blood relationship with someone, stop wasting your time with this person. Move on and don't look back.
Boy Looks for Courage to Approach Girl
DEAR ABBY: I am an eighth-grader in junior high, and there is a girl I really like. My problem is I'm afraid to tell her I love her.
I know she likes someone else and wants to go out with him, but I don't know if she likes me. When I'm home, I write her poems, and I want to drop them off at her locker, but I am scared to. We are in three classes together. Do you have any advice? -- NERVOUS BOY
DEAR NERVOUS BOY: Yes. If you're smart, you'll wait until that girl is over her crush before declaring your feelings for her. The boy she has her eye on may or may not be interested in her. But as long as she's fixated on him, she won't be receptive to a romance with you, and it could be embarrassing if you say anything prematurely. (The same goes for anonymously dropping off your literary efforts at her locker.)
Angry Words Continue to Hurt Girlfriend
DEAR ABBY: During a disagreement with my boyfriend, he called me a "b----." We have been together for 13 years, and he has never disrespected or degraded me that way before. He apologized later and said what he meant was I was acting like one (as if that's any better), but I'm having a hard time getting past this.
When he called me that, I was stunned. I felt nauseated the rest of the day, as if he had literally punched me in the stomach. Am I wrong to react this way? Am I making a big deal out of it, and should I just accept his apology and let it go? I just feel so hurt. -- DEGRADED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR DEGRADED: People often say things they don't mean -- or something they later regret -- in the heat of an argument. One slip of the tongue after 13 years together shouldn't be a deal-breaker. Accept his apology and move on already.
Female Friendships Are a Threat to Fiance
DEAR ABBY: I have had very few female friends in my life. I have a hard time relating to other women. My fiance doesn't approve of me having close friendships with other men.
I recently met a lesbian couple whose company I enjoy. My fiance doesn't like us being friends because "they are trying to turn me gay." Abby, this is ridiculous. I have never been attracted to women, and these ladies have never brought up the possibility that I may be lesbian, as they know I am straight.
How can I make my fiance come to terms with our friendship? I'm thinking of calling off the engagement. -- STRAIGHT GIRL IN THE SOUTH
DEAR STRAIGHT GIRL: Has it become clear to you yet how insecure and controlling your fiance appears to be? Straight people are not "turned gay" because they have lesbian or gay friends. You can talk at him until the cows come home, but unless he is willing/able to overcome his bias, he won't believe you.
This is my long-winded way of advising you to find a more open-minded, secure man to marry because it doesn't take a crystal ball to predict that the one you're engaged to will eventually make you feel isolated, trapped and unhappy.
Underwear Preference creates a Wedge
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 50-year-old man in a relationship with a woman who is 42. She says I need to trade in my briefs for boxer shorts because they are outdated and "nobody wears those" anymore. She also told me only 9-year-old boys wear tighty whities and they are a turn-off.
I have always worn fly-front briefs. I don't like boxers because I find them uncomfortable. What can I do to fix this problem? She will not look at it from my perspective. -- LIKES IT BRIEF IN FLORIDA
DEAR LIKES IT BRIEF: Really? If you allow this woman to dictate what kind of underwear you wear now, she'll be wearing the pants during your entire relationship if you stay with her. Tell her once and for all that if wearing boxers is so important to her, she should buy herself a pair.
Man Is Ready to Hang Up on One-Way Phone Calls
DEAR ABBY: "Ingrid" and I have been dating for a couple of months. We're in our early 50s and both of us have been married before. We get along fine and our relationship is proceeding slowly, but appropriately.
My problem is, when we talk on the phone we don't really have a conversation. Ingrid will talk without interruption, sometimes for five minutes at a time. I can't get a word in. I can put the phone down and come back and she'll still be talking. It's not quite that bad in person, although she's still quite a talker. Often, she'll ask me a question, then interrupt me when I try to answer. It really bugs me.
It has reached a point that I don't want to talk to her on the phone. The calls can last 30 minutes or more, and I get bored and irritated. How do I address this with her without hurting her feelings or affecting our relationship? She's starting to feel my reluctance to call her back. -- GETTING AN EARFUL IN ARIZONA
DEAR GETTING AN EARFUL: If Ingrid is starting to feel your reluctance to return her calls, I'm guessing she has found a way to let you know. This is your opening for a truth session with your lady friend in which you explain how those phone monologues -- notice I didn't say "conversations" -- make you feel.
What she's doing is rude. The cause may be nervousness, thoughtlessness, or that she's a compulsive talker. If she cares about you, she will want to know if she's doing something that's making you back away. Being honest with her is the only way to get this fixed, if the problem is fixable. At your ages, lifelong habits may not be easy to break.
Photo credit: Florian Klauer via Unsplash