DEAR ABBY: My grandfather died nine months ago. He and my grandmother were married for more than 40 years, but they were not happy for the last four or five. A couple of weeks ago an old family friend called my grandmother. She's known him since she was a teenager.
Out of the blue, my grandmother invited this man to visit over the weekend. He stayed in a hotel and she claims nothing romantic happened. But she took him to some of my grandfather's favorite places -- places we all went together as a family. This is so out of character for her. When she asked how I felt, I lied and said I was OK with it.
Now my conversations with my grandmother are strained. Should I tell her how I really feel and risk her ending something that is making her happy? -- WORRIED 17-YEAR-OLD GIRL
DEAR WORRIED: I understand your feelings, but my advice to you is to keep your negative feelings to yourself. Although you still perceive your grandmother to be part of a happy couple, your grandfather is gone and the marriage was not a happy one for a long time. Your grandmother has had a lot of time to grieve. Try to be happy for her and wish her well. If you cannot do that, grief counseling for you would be helpful.
DEAR ABBY: I have lived with my boyfriend, "Earl," for eight years. During that time I have moved out twice. We are not kids -- I am 47; he's 62.
Earl owns a bar and admits he is an alcoholic. He drinks every day and never gets mean, but in his drunken state he's apt to do stupid things. Earl thinks he "controls" his drinking by not imbibing at home or during the day -- only at night when he drinks with his customers.
One time Earl came home at 5:00 a.m. and told me he'd been with friends, but later that day I discovered some semi-nude Polaroid pictures of him and a faceless female. I moved out that same day.
Earl and I stayed apart for several months, but we missed each other, so I moved back. Another problem is we haven't had sex in seven years. We sleep together, but our physical contact has diminished to a quick goodnight kiss. When I mention the subject, Earl says he doesn't want to talk about it. When he's at home alone, all he does is watch porno videos. I should add that I am attractive and other men find me desirable.
You must be wondering why I stay with Earl. Well, it's comfortable. He never gets mad, and for the first time in my life, I don't have to struggle financially. I know I could make it on my own, but it's easier this way. However, I don't like the feeling I've "sold out."
In my heart I know he's going to die. I fear the drinking will kill him one of these days. Earl hasn't been to a doctor since his discharge from the service in 1962. Please tell me what to do. I'm not happy with him, but I'm not happy alone, either. -- LOVELESS IN RHODE ISLAND
DEAR LOVELESS: Not only are you loveless, but you also appear to be depressed, listless and have low self-esteem. It seems you are sleepwalking through life. There is far more to life than having a place to live and a roommate who "isn't mean." Please try counseling with the goal of learning why you deserve more from a relationship than you're getting from this one.
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 in the price.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600