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by Abigail Van Buren

Man's Ex Wife Too Close for Future Wife's Comfort

DEAR ABBY: My fiance, "Gil," has an ex-wife I'll call Shirley, and an 11-year-old daughter. Shirley divorced Gil three years ago for another man.

She always goes out to Gil's car and makes small talk when he takes his daughter home from weekend visitations. Last Halloween, instead of waiting in the car, she came into my living room. This summer, Shirley dropped by Gil's family reunion briefly and brought him a gift to celebrate his recent baptism. She also calls my home regularly and asks for Gil.

In my opinion, when you divorce someone, that pretty much says you don't want to see the person again. I believe Shirley should also be divorced from the family. I want to start a new life with Gil, but somehow I keep running into this woman.

Abby, wouldn't it be good manners for Shirley to stay out of sight? -- KATHY IN HUNTSVILLE, ALA.

DEAR KATHY: Considering the circumstances of the divorce, I'm surprised that Shirley felt comfortable dropping by the family reunion. However, Gil will always have a tie to Shirley because of their daughter, so it's to everyone's advantage to maintain a friendly relationship. If you want a happy future with him, try harder to control your resentment and accept the fact that he has "baggage." Sometimes you have to take the bitter with the sweet.

DEAR ABBY: Is it a requirement of friendship to agree to assume certain responsibilities if something happens to your friend?

I live in a senior housing project. I do not have a pet and do not want the obligation of taking care of one. My friend has asked me twice if I would take care of her two cats if something should happen to her. My answer both times was that I would find good homes for them. My friend snapped back, "That's not good enough." I'm worried I'll lose her friendship over this, but Abby, I don't want her cats. By the way, she's in perfect health. I'm not -- I have allergies. -- CAT'S PAJAMAS

DEAR CAT'S PAJAMAS: Your offer to find your friend's cats a good home IS good enough. It is unreasonable for this woman to expect you to assume their care when you have expressed no interest in doing so. If you want to go the extra mile, try to find someone now who would be willing to take the cats should the need arise, and tell your friend you have a home lined up. Or offer to help her do the same.

DEAR ABBY: I've been reading your column for many years. I'm a 73-year-old grandma of 10. I even have one great-grandchild.

At the end of your column today, it said, "Everybody has a problem ..." You know what? I don't! If I had to "get it off my chest," I'd be hard pressed to find a thing to complain about.

You get so many letters with so many problems, I thought you'd like to hear from someone who has none. I have no problem now and never had one that couldn't be solved with a little patience and sometimes a lot of hard work.

There are probably many more out there like me. You just don't hear from them, so I'm writing to make your day. Did I? -- BETTY SKOOG, McHENRY, ILL.

DEAR BETTY: Yes, you certainly did, and thank you for taking the time to write. If all my readers were like you, I'd be out of business!

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