06/29/2007DEAR ABBY: I am a 40-year-old male who has been divorced for the last five years. I am considering trying marriage again, but am somewhat concerned about the impotence problem I have had for some time.
I have consulted many doctors and have taken many tests, but they all came out OK -- so I decided to try Viagra. It has been working great.
Should I be upfront about my medical condition if and when I propose marriage, or should I wait until after we're married? It is extremely embarrassing to talk about this to anyone, let alone a woman who might become my wife. -- UNCERTAIN IN WESTMINSTER, CALIF.
DEAR UNCERTAIN: You should absolutely disclose any medical condition that could affect your marriage before you are married. Not to do so could be considered fraud. If the woman loves you, she will accept you just as you are.
However, when the time comes, it might be beneficial for you and your prospective fiancee to pay a visit to your physician together. It's possible that your impotence may have been linked to the fact that your marriage didn't work, and has nothing to do with your ability to perform without the little blue pills.
DEAR ABBY: I recently lost my fiance to leukemia. He was only 27. I have noticed that the first words of comfort offered to me by people are, "You're young and pretty. You'll find someone again." Abby, my fiance has been gone only four months. Several people said that to me at his funeral and wake!
I understand the thought behind those words -- that my life will not end because his did. But it was extremely inappropriate to hear something like that so soon after his death. I know I will eventually feel like dating again, but right now his loss is still too recent and painful.
How should I respond to people who say that? Please help me get the word out that this is no comfort so soon after someone's partner passes away. -- STILL MOURNING IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR STILL MOURNING: Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. Your sentiments have been repeated by others who have also suffered a loss.
For some reason, when there is a death, people feel they must say something to "fix" it -- as if anything that could be said would make the pain go away.
Folks: The appropriate way to extend condolences is the simplest. Just repeat the first sentence of my answer. Period! That's all! And do not ask questions about the cause of death. And when someone offers you condolences -- a simple thank you is enough. Then, unless you wish to talk about it, change the subject.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were invited to a friend's home for dinner. We brought a lovely plant as a thank-you gift. When we arrived at her house, she said she had forgotten she had invited us for that night. We talked in her driveway for a few minutes, and I handed her the plant as we left. My question is, what was the correct thing to do? Should we have let her have the plant or taken it back home with us? -- PERPLEXED IN MCCLEARY, WASH.
DEAR PERPLEXED: You didn't mention how old this friend is, but she appears to be disorganized, overscheduled or suffering from mind-cognitive impairment. Although there are no rules of etiquette that dictated it, you were nice to leave the plant with her. Perhaps it will serve as a reminder to reschedule the dinner.
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