Springfield News-Sun

Parent decided to keep relatives at arm’s length

- Jeanne Phillips Dear Abby Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.dearabby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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.

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 brandnew 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.

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 and 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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