DEAR ABBY: For the past two years, my 21-year-old brother, "Bill," has been dating a wonderful young lady I'll call Katie. Bill has been living with Katie and her family for the past year, until she finishes high school. She's only 18, but very mature for her age.
Katie is now pregnant. She claims it was an accident -- but those of us close to her know it wasn't. Bill has proposed and is planning to marry her next month. After that, he has to travel out of the country for eight months because he's in the military reserves.
My best friend, "Tammy," works with Bill. She recently confided to me that after Bill found out about Katie's pregnancy, he told three of his female co-workers -- including Tammy -- that he wasn't sure if he was making the right decision by marrying Katie. He told all of these gals that he needed to "be with other women" before he gets married.
To my astonishment, each of them ended up performing sexual favors for Bill, and he has made it clear to all of them that he wants to do it again. I am torn. I love my brother, but I'm upset that he cheated on Katie. I'm also sick about the fact that my best friend took part in this.
I don't want to create a family feud, but I can't keep silent about this mess. Should I talk to my brother about it? Should I tell Katie about Bill's unfaithfulness? Or should I keep my mouth shut and let the wedding go on as planned? -- TORN IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR TORN: This does not sound to me like a couple who are ready for marriage. Talk to your father or an older male family member whom Bill respects about what you have discovered, and then tell Katie. Katie must disclose to her obstetrician the fact that she needs to be tested for STDs, because if she has one, it could affect the health of her and her baby.
Bill is overdue for a "father/son talk" about the facts of life. These include the dangers of unprotected sex and the responsibilities of a family man. As it stands, your brother understands neither.
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law died in January. It is now mid-May, and my husband has not yet sent thank-you cards to the family and many friends who offered their condolences and support. I say it is not too late -- he says it is. What say you, Abby? -- STILL GRIEVING IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR STILL GRIEVING: Your husband has my sympathy. Perhaps he is procrastinating because he feels it's the last tie he has to his mother. When the task is finished, his mother really WILL be gone. It would be a kindness if you would offer to write the thank-you notes with him. Not only will it give him a sense of closeness and support, it will bring closure.
DEAR ABBY: In this period of renewed patriotism, could you please tell me the proper etiquette for listening to our national anthem? I attend many sporting events and have noticed a variety of responses when the anthem begins.
Are women supposed to remove their hats, as well as men? Should you place your right hand over your heart as you would when you say the Pledge of Allegiance? Do you face the flag or the singer? -- WANTING TO BE RESPECTFUL
DEAR WANTING: Stand, face the flag, and either sing along or remain silent. Placing your hand over your heart is optional. Men should remove their hats. Women are not required to. Do not eat, drink or converse for the duration of the song, and when it is finished, cheer and clap to your heart's content.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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