DEAR ABBY: I went through a bitter divorce a few years ago after my wife, "Cassie," had an affair. During the divorce I confided a lot in Cassie's sister, "Lisa." We had always been close friends, but one thing led to another.
I started seeing a lot of Lisa, and some people got wind of it. Lisa has two kids and I have a son who is older. I was very much in love with Lisa and she felt the same, but everyone said it was wrong so we parted ways. It was more my idea than hers. She didn't care what anyone thought.
Lisa and I are now involved with other people, but I talked to her a month ago and now I can't get her out of my mind. I told my son about it. He thinks I should be with her. He wants us to be happy. I have dated several other women, but none of them makes me feel the way she does. What do you think we should do? -- UNDECIDED IN DELAWARE
DEAR UNDECIDED: Who, exactly, are these "people" whom you have allowed to dictate the way you live your life? It's time to stop being an advice collector.
Because you and Lisa are involved with others, the first thing you'll have to do is explain to them that you have "unfinished business." Better they hear it now than after they have invested more time in either of you. Also, understand that nothing comes without a price, and the "price" for a life together could be a permanent estrangement between Lisa and her sister.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have a "blended family." He has a 13-year-old son named "Ryan." I have a 5-year-old son, "James." And we have a daughter together, "Samantha," who is 2.
James and Ryan got along great before Sami was born. But now Ryan treats James like a stepchild. He constantly yells at James and says things like, "Just wait until Sami is big enough to beat you up!"
What I see going on between James and Sami is typical childhood rivalry, and I take it with a grain of salt. I have urged my boyfriend many times to talk to Ryan and tell him James is only 5 and doesn't fully understand when he takes toys from Sami, and for Ryan to stay out of it. I have also tried to tell that to Ryan.
I don't want my son to feel like the stepchild he is being treated like. Some advice would be greatly appreciated. -- GOT THE BLUES IN MICHIGAN
DEAR GOT THE BLUES: There is a lot going on under your roof, and you should take none of it "with a grain of salt." Ryan may be treating your son like a stepchild because that is how he perceives him -- after all, Ryan is related by blood to Samantha and not to James. He should not be allowed to get away with it.
Also, when Sami was born, James was the baby in the family. He could be resentful about losing his place and be trying to punish Sami by taking her toys. At age 5, your son knows the difference between right and wrong, and you should not ignore that fact. Tell James that unless he wants both his big brother and his little sister to be mad at him, he will have to learn to look out for Sami and treat her like a loving brother.
Also, be sure to carve out some extra time devoted just to James, so he will know he hasn't been "lost in the middle." Praise him when he's good to Samantha and let him know there's a penalty when he isn't. Do this, and I predict the problem will subside.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $12 (U.S. funds)
to: Dear Abby -- Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64111; (816) 932-6600