DEAR ABBY: My friend, "Wilma," recently purchased a house with her husband, "Ken." They frequently host "poker nights" and invite quite a few other friends -- and friends of friends.
Since Wilma is presently unemployed, she has instituted a new policy for the games: Everyone must donate a percentage of their winnings to the house. This has offended quite a few of the players. Many of us have offered to bring snacks, drinks, etc., but the donation rule stands and is very much in effect.
May I add that Ken was shocked when Wilma asked for the money. How can we confront her without coming across as rude? -- CONCERNED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR CONCERNED: Why are you worried about offending someone who is extorting money from you? I don't know how many people participate in these "poker nights," but with a percentage of every hand going to the house, Wilma must be making a tidy sum. It shouldn't be necessary to "confront her." If I were you, I'd alternate hosting these games among the participants.
DEAR ABBY: My father, who is still living, sexually abused me for six or seven years during my childhood. That was 21 years ago. I believe he has gotten help for his "problem" and won't harm anyone else, but I can't be sure. I have talked to Dad about it, and he says he would never hurt anyone like that again, that what he did was very wrong, and he's sorry he ever hurt me.
About six years ago, another family member asked me if I had been sexually abused, and I told her no at the urging of my parents and my husband. She and I both have children. I allow my son to stay with Dad, but not my daughter. The other family member has sons who stay with Dad occasionally.
I feel guilty for not telling her the truth. I would never forgive myself if something happened to her kids because I lied. Should I speak up and let the chips fall where they may, even though it could hurt a lot of people? Or should I just be quiet and observe? It has taken a lot of courage to write this letter, and your advice would be appreciated. -- UNSURE IN THE PRAIRIES
DEAR UNSURE: Has it occurred to you that your relative asked you that question because your father had also abused her? Asking someone if a parent has abused her (or him) is not something that ordinarily comes up in conversation for no reason. Yes, you should definitely level with her -- and then listen to what she has to say. You owe it to her and the children to be honest.
P.S. Child molesters have been known to abuse children of both genders, so don't procrastinate.
DEAR ABBY: I am 19 and have been in love with "Rob" ever since I was in fifth grade. I never felt good enough for him. Now that we're in college, I finally expressed my feelings, and we are starting a relationship. My only problem is people tell me that being with Rob is wrong because my sister is married to his first cousin. Is there some kind of rule that being together is taboo? -- CONFUSED IN AMERICAN SAMOA
DEAR CONFUSED: Not that I ever heard of. You and Rob are not blood relatives, and I know of no taboo against marrying him should you both decide to tie the knot.
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.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600