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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom's Devotion to Her Boss Looks Like Funny Business

DEAR ABBY: My parents have been married for 16 years. I am 21. My first mother died. Mom and Dad have always had a trusting relationship.

Mom has been working for a law firm for the past seven years. Lately she's been spending a lot of time with her boss. It's gotten to the point where "Pete" -- her boss -- will pick her up and drive her to work every morning, then he brings her home after she has worked late. They go out to lunch together nearly every day.

For the past two weeks, Mom has worked late every night and she's gone in on Saturday to "help him out." Pete is married, too. Yesterday he gave her a single long-stemmed rose.

I don't dare say anything to either of my parents, so I'm asking for your advice. My younger brothers have both asked me if I thought something was going on between Mom and her boss. I've always said, "No way," but now I think differently. I hate feeling this way. I love both my parents dearly, but I think Mom is taking advantage of Dad's trust in her. What should I do? -- CONFUSED DAUGHTER

DEAR CONFUSED: You and Mom are overdue for an adult-level mother/daughter chat. Do not make accusations; confide your feelings, and explain that your brothers are uncomfortable with the amount of time she has been spending with her boss -- and they are asking questions for which you have no answers.

It is possible that your mother's relationship with her boss is strictly business. And, since no attempt was made to hide the rose, it is also possible that it was given as a token of gratitude -- nothing more. So give your mother the opportunity to set the record straight.

DEAR ABBY: Three years ago, my husband died of cancer. He was only 39 years old. We had a wonderful marriage, but so many times the comment was made by individuals who had gone through a divorce, "It has to be much easier losing your husband through death than losing a mate by divorce."

How cruel and wrong could anyone possibly be! This comment was made several times shortly after my husband had died, and I still hear it today.

What do you make of it, Abby? You may use my name. -- MYRA WATKINS, GOODLAND, KAN.

DEAR MYRA: Those who would make such an insensitive comment probably intended to comfort you. (Like those who would say to a woman who had recently experienced a miscarriage, "Don't be sad -- you're better off; maybe something would have been wrong with the baby had you carried it to term.")

However, losing a cherished mate through divorce is oftentimes similar to a death -- the death of a dream that was too short-lived, or didn't work out.

People are eating them up! For Abby's favorite recipes, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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