DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with "Gary" for four years. His late wife was his first and only relationship. When he moved in with me, he brought so many boxes they filled my entire basement. I want it cleared out because I don't feel I should have to store his past.
Gary's adult children have had the opportunity to take boxes home, but never do. When I asked him to clean things up, he responded by saying he doesn't feel at home here and will start looking for a place of his own.
For the most part, our relationship is a good one. I feel if he's ready to move on, he shouldn't have brought his past here with him -- including the urn containing his late wife's ashes. Am I wrong to feel this way? -- FEELING CROWDED, CARLIN, NEV.
DEAR FEELING CROWDED: While all of us bring the "baggage" of past relationships with us as we move through life, your friend has done it in a literal sense. If he was concerned about your feelings, he could rent a storage unit -- but he hasn't. Telling you that if you insist he clear out the basement, he will clear you out of his life is emotional blackmail.
Perhaps it's time to ask yourself if this relationship is a healthy one. Could the boxes and the urn be symptoms of a larger problem? If so, then Gary should haul his ashes, boxes and self elsewhere.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have a 20-year-old nephew I'll call "Adam," who sometimes lacks good judgment. We have told him that when he visits he should ask before drinking our milk. The price of milk has gone sky-high, and we have a 7-year-old who drinks a lot of it. We have had to tighten our purse strings and try to make a gallon last a week. When Adam comes over, he will drink two or three big glasses of it. Now, instead of asking, he sneaks it when we're not looking.
His mother, "Faye," is also my best friend. While she was visiting, Adam waited until we went into the family room, then consumed more than half of the gallon of milk we had just purchased. When we discovered what had happened, we called Adam on his cell phone and told him we weren't happy about it. Faye overheard the conversation.
When we saw her the next day, she didn't seem too upset about it. But now that she's back home in Florida, she hasn't returned any of my calls or e-mails. Could scolding Adam about the milk have anything to do with Faye's silence? -- SOURED IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR SOURED: If you explained to Adam that you and your husband are on a strict budget, and that you didn't want him to drink the milk, then he was wrong to help himself to it. It is not unheard of for a parent to become offended when someone scolds his or her child. That may be the reason you're getting the silent treatment. But no one can answer that question for sure other than Faye.
DEAR ABBY: I have a very strict father. I respect what he has to say, but I don't like the fact that he won't let me have a boyfriend. He thinks all dudez are alike -- well, most dudez at least. I need that li'l bit of advice, pleeeezzz. Love always, BABI IN MILFORD, CONN.
DEAR BABI: Dadz can be that way sometimez. Perhaps yours is trying to prevent you from making an "S" of yourself.
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 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