DEAR ABBY: My closest friend, "Tina," who is married, has been having an affair for a few months. She has now decided she's no longer in love with her husband, "Hal," and wants a divorce. Tina and Hal have been in my life for several years and are like family to me.
Hal recently reached out to me for an explanation about Tina's 180-degree change in attitude, feelings and behavior. He is crushed and confused about why she wants a divorce. He told me he had asked her if she had been cheating. Of course, Tina lied to him.
I don't want to be the one to tell Hal what she's doing, but I feel I owe it to him. I'm disgusted with Tina, and it's killing me to see him in so much pain. What do you suggest? Am I really a friend if I don't tell, or should I continue keeping her dirty little secret? -- IN THE MIDDLE IN CORPUS CHRISTI
DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: Hal already suspects that Tina is cheating, or he wouldn't have asked for confirmation. If you "spill," it will cost you your friendship with Tina. However, from the tone of your letter, it appears that she's someone for whom you have lost respect anyway.
Tina's secret will be common knowledge soon. If you reveal it to Hal, he will not be thrilled to hear the news. There's a reason why people were afraid to give Caesar bad news. He had a habit of killing the messenger. So be prepared.
DEAR ABBY: My children have been cared for by a wonderful baby sitter I'll call "Sally" for two years. Mine are the only children Sally watches, and she has three of her own. Our families have a friendly relationship.
Once in a while I will stop at the grocery store on my way home, or take off from work early for a dental appointment or some personal time. It is rare, but it does happen. I always tell Sally because I want to be honest. When I do, sometimes she acts like I should have picked them up right away. I still get there on time -- sometimes early -- and I pay her well.
Is there an unwritten rule that sitters are only for when you are at work? I don't think I have abused her services, but sometimes I feel as though she thinks so. -- FEELING GUILTY IN ILLINOIS
DEAR FEELING GUILTY: If there was an unwritten rule that sitters are only for when you're at work, legions of parents would have no social life. Perhaps it's time for you to review the terms of your baby-sitting agreement with Sally. You are paying her for a service -- to watch your children between specific times. As long as you are there to pick them up on time, you have no reason to feel guilty.
And I see no reason why you feel compelled to explain to her if you choose to take a "detour." Perhaps she becomes annoyed because you're reminding her that you have free time and she doesn't.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Brady," and I do not share the same passions. I'm a gay rights activist and love animals. Brady is tolerant of gays, but does not love animals. (I have three cats.) Also, he is not altruistic.
"Something" is not right. I need to decide if I should go it alone because I have no intention of giving up my passions in life. What do you think? -- ON DIFFERENT PATHS IN TEXAS
DEAR ON DIFFERENT PATHS: I think you should continue on your own path until you find your soul mate. As nice a person as Brady may be, he's not "The One" -- and that's the "something" that isn't right.
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