DEAR ABBY: I have a friend I'll call "George." He is a good person, smart and fun to be with. He hasn't matured as fast as other boys and his voice is soft and high-pitched. People call him gay, and it hurts him terribly.
He recently dropped out of school and is now being home-schooled. When he told me why, it shocked me.
Won't you explain to your readers not to judge people until you have walked a mile in their shoes? Get to know them. I am the only person who stands up for George, and I always will. Please tell people it is not OK to ridicule others.
It hurts me to hear him say his life is ruined. He says he will get a new wardrobe and change everything. But he shouldn't have to change. He has a right to be himself. -- CONCERNED FRIEND IN BILLINGS, MONT.
DEAR CONCERNED FRIEND: I don't have to tell people that it's not OK to ridicule others. You have done a good job of that in your letter. But I'll tell you a secret. People who make derogatory comments about the sexuality of others often have doubts about their own.
P.S. I'm sorry that George's parents didn't talk over their son's predicament with their lawyer and the school principal. If they had, I'll bet George would still be your classmate.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 37-year-old married woman. One night I walked into our bedroom and caught my husband looking at something. When he saw me, he stuck it between the pages of a magazine and began shuffling business papers. The next morning when he went to work, I opened the magazine and found a snapshot of a naked woman.
A few nights later he said he was going to hang out with some friends, so I decided to take myself out to dinner. When I walked into the restaurant, I saw my husband having dinner with the woman in the photo.
He didn't see me, so I left quickly. I didn't mention having seen him. Now I have noticed that he no longer really talks or listens to me, and he's making lame excuses to go out more often.
I want to save our marriage. But how? -- UPSET IN LONGMEADOW, MASS.
DEAR UPSET: You will not save your marriage by remaining silent. Confront your husband with the fact that you found the photo and have seen him with the woman. Tell him that you love him but you feel betrayed and hurt, and offer him the option of marriage counseling. Marriages can survive this trauma, but only if both parties are willing to work at rebuilding the trust that has been broken.
DEAR ABBY: Three weeks ago my boyfriend, "Jeremy," proposed, and I am overjoyed. My problem is I hate the engagement ring he chose. I also hate the matching wedding band. I'm afraid if I mention trading them for something that I like, he'll be hurt.
Should I keep my mouth shut and live with the rings? Or should I speak up and risk hurting Jeremy? -- LOOKING FOR THE RING OF TRUTH
DEAR LOOKING: Speak up now because if you wait, it will probably slip out later at an inopportune time.
The lesson here is that the bride-to-be should be part of the selection process. It's not a difficult thing to arrange. All it takes is for the man to ask the salesperson to show his fiancee a selection of rings –- or stones –- that's within his price range. It's done all the time.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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