DEAR ABBY: This is something I can't talk about in my grief support group. I'm a 70-year-old widow. I lost my dear husband of 35 years 17 months ago. I always was more sexual than he was. Since the funeral, I have had a one-night stand with a nice younger man, but it was a failure for me physically. Since then, I am leery.
Last night, a dear friend visited. He knew both of us for years. I had flirted with him last year, but nothing happened. Last night he came on to me. I was upset about my failure to perform with the nice young man, so I turned him down. Now I don't know what to do.
If I sleep with him, will it destroy our friendship? Will I be able to keep him from becoming a major presence in my home? -- WONDERING WIDOW
DEAR WIDOW: Please accept my condolences for the loss of your husband. That your first experience after your husband's death wasn't all that you fantasized it would be isn't unusual. Good sex is all about communication. It takes time for couples to adjust to each other and feel comfortable enough to talk frankly about their individual needs.
If you sleep with this old friend, I can't see why it would destroy your friendship. You are both adults and, I assume, available. Sex with him may -- or may not -- bring you closer for a variety of reasons.
However, if you would not welcome someone becoming "a major presence in your home," allow me to point out that it might be better not to go to bed with him. Once a door is opened, it's not unusual for a guest to become comfortable and crave more "hospitality."
DEAR ABBY: I am a mother of two, and I'm afraid the baby's dad is with me only for them. He pays no attention to me unless he has something to complain about. When he does, he says hurtful things that make me cry and then he tells the kids to call me a crybaby. It's almost as if he is trying to turn them against me.
I want a relationship with him. I want love and attention, but I don't know how to get it. Please help! -- NOT WANTED IN THE EAST
DEAR NOT WANTED: What your partner is doing is unhealthy not only for you, but also for your children. He is emotionally abusing you, while at the same time encouraging those children to disrespect you and minimize your feelings.
For your sake -- and theirs -- you must not allow this to continue. If you do, they will think the abuse is normal behavior and perpetuate it in their own relationships when they are older.
Offer your partner the option of couples counseling to repair your relationship. If he refuses, go without him. If you do, I promise you will find it enlightening. Please do not procrastinate, because his verbal abuse could escalate.
DEAR ABBY: Is there a way to respond to individuals who use swear words often and loudly in a public place such as a restaurant? Hearing the F-word used by people at the next table ruins my enjoyment of my meal. -- OFFENDED IN THE WEST
DEAR OFFENDED: I don't advise you to approach the "offenders." If you have a complaint, direct it to the manager of the restaurant, who can then inform the "F-worders" they are disturbing other patrons and to please keep it down. And if they don't, ask to change tables and sit in a quieter section of the restaurant.