DEAR ABBY: My wife and I live with three friends in order to save money. One of our housemates is my wife's brother. I can't stand him. He's bossy and always wants things his way. The other housemates ignore him and let him do what he wants. I am the only one who seems to have a problem with him.
Abby, last night he held a "family meeting" and asked my wife and me not to fight on the front porch. We don't fight very often, but there are two things we fight about: money and her evil brother. I have considered telling him what to do with his thoughts on many occasions, but I have kept my mouth shut because my wife gets upset when I criticize her brother. She's very protective of him and feels he can do no wrong. She thinks I'm vindictive if I disagree with him.
Should I keep my mouth shut for the sake of peace, or do I have a right to say what I think of him? -- FED UP IN WEST VIRGINIA
DEAR FED UP: As long as you're living under the same roof, you'd be wise to keep your mouth shut.
DEAR ABBY: Regarding your response to "Irritated in Minneapolis," the woman who was distressed because a minister's widow was chasing after her husband at church: You said the widow probably needed "verification that she's still attractive to men."
Abby, you excused this woman's behavior and minimized the wife's distress. The minister's widow should know better. She does know better if she is trained in the holy Scriptures, which are guidelines for what is appropriate and what is not between the sexes.
The widow has already had a husband of her own, and though it's unfortunate he's deceased, pursuing someone else's husband (in her own church, yet) is not only inappropriate, but disloyal to the man's wife.
People like the widow invade others' boundaries and count on "compassion" in order to continue their game. The husband is not always "not attracted," and it's not the wife's job to find the widow a new man so that she won't steal hers.
I have been in similar situations and have a solution: I take the woman aside and say, "I may be wrong, but I get the feeling you're attracted to my husband, and it makes me uncomfortable." They always deny it at first, but I treat them with dignity and honesty, and it earns me their respect. I have no more problems with them. In fact, I get the sense they're relieved to have been stopped in such a loving way. It works. -- A WIFE WHO CARES
DEAR WIFE: Your experience gives wise voice to the other side of the story. In a perfect world, no one would desire or deliberately entice another's spouse. Unfortunately, however, we're not living in a perfect world.
DEAR ABBY: I gave up my child for adoption when she was 7 days old. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Please do not get me wrong; the choice I made was a loving choice. I did what I felt was right for my child. You see, I love her more than the very air I breathe, as I do all my children.
This happened approximately 18 years ago, and I have since had two more children. The child I gave up has met her sister and knows that she is her sister. Now, as she approaches her 18th birthday, she has made it clear that she wants to meet me face-to-face.
Abby, I am terrified to meet her. I don't know what to say to her. Could you please advise me about what to do? -- SCARED IN VISTA, CALIF.
DEAR SCARED: Tell your daughter exactly what you have told me, and do not be afraid. The most important message you can give her is that you never stopped loving her, and you did what you thought was best for her at the time.
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