DEAR ABBY: I recently began dating again as a single mother. I met a man I'll call "Mickey" at a singles dance and agreed to meet him at a coffeehouse a few days later because I had decided to date him. However, Mickey followed me home. I saw him pass my house.
A few days later, he showed up at a store where I was shopping, although he doesn't live nearby. I invited him over for dinner, and he showed up again within the week, uninvited, and walked into my house while I was taking a nap! When I confronted him about entering my house uninvited, he said he was "concerned about my welfare." (I have systemic lupus.)
Abby, I dated Mickey a total of four weeks. Since then, he has continuously driven by my house and dropped off presents of books, cards, candy, flowers, etc. I have asked him not to come by uninvited or without calling first, but he just dropped off another book. He appears not to understand that his intrusive behavior is freaking me out. What can I do? Is this considered stalking? He hasn't threatened me, but I'm frightened and wish he'd stop pursuing me. What can I do? -- FREAKED OUT IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR FREAKED OUT: Tell the man plainly that you are not interested in a relationship and you want him to stop dropping by and giving you gifts. If he persists, begin keeping a written record every time it happens and notify the police, because his behavior could be considered stalking. You should also make certain to keep your doors and windows securely locked so you don't have any further unwelcome intrusions. You may also have to screen your calls for a while, and if he calls, do not respond.
DEAR ABBY: I need to know how to handle my mixed-up marriage. My husband is a preacher, and our marriage is falling apart. He cares more for another woman than he does for me. Every time we talk to each other, he always brings her into the conversation. It happens even when he's preaching. All I ever hear is that she helped him with his children when his other wives left him!
I understand that, but that was in the past. All I ever asked of him was to be there for me. Our sex life is terrible. He no longer has anything to do with me.
We have been married only 16 months, and this has gone on for half our marriage. It hurts me because I love him so much. What can I do about this? How can I make him understand? -- HURTING IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR HURTING: The time has come to stop reacting emotionally and think rationally. Just how many wives has your husband had? And why did they leave him? Could it be that they were treated the same way he is treating you?
Many wives make their husbands "understand" when communication breaks down through marriage counseling, and that's what I recommend for you. I don't know whether your husband still carries a torch for his former child-care provider or if he's actively involved with someone else. But you need more help than anyone can give you in a letter.
DEAR ABBY: I have a family member I love dearly, as does the rest of the family. This person has had an odor problem for many years -- but it is seemingly getting worse. We feel it is not only body odor but also lack of bathing and laundry.
No one in the family wants to be responsible for telling this person about it for fear of hurting this person or making the person upset and resentful. What should we do? -- UNSURE IN MISSOURI
DEAR UNSURE: You must speak to the person. By doing so, you will be helping, not hurting. What would be cruel would be to ignore the problem.
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 $6 (U.S. funds) 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