DEAR ABBY: For 15 years I was a happily married homemaker with a wonderful husband. "Duncan" and I attended church together, frolicked through the fields, even exterminated rodents together. He was my best friend. It was bliss.
Last year I found out my father had had an affair with Duncan's mother the year I was born, which makes him my half-brother! The news was too much for my husband. He had a fatal heart attack not long after.
What should I put on his gravestone -- "Loving Brother" or "Loving Husband"? -- GRIEVING IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR GRIEVING: Neither. How about "He was 'Everything' to me"? That should about cover it.
DEAR ABBY: I'm in a relationship with a man I met online who lives out of state. He has been to see me a dozen times over the last three years. We say we love each other and want to spend the rest of our lives together. But over the last 18 months I have realized we have NOTHING in common -- and our views on life, policy and politics are completely opposite.
For three years we have talked every single day, mostly about how much we love each other. It's when we try to have a real conversation we start to disagree. He says we're entitled to our own opinions, and I agree, but I can't help but wonder what kind of future we could have together when we cannot discuss anything but how we feel about each other. -- SECOND THOUGHTS IN ANAHEIM
DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: It's a shame you two can't spend some extended time together because the answer to your question would become evident. From where I sit, I think there would be conflict on a daily basis regardless of how much you "love" each other. I put the word love in quotes because love is something that grows from mutual respect, and I'm not sure how long you would remain mutually respectful in light of the fact your worldviews are completely different.
DEAR ABBY: My father died two years ago and asked that I administer my mother's finances. She has now burned through two-thirds of the savings he left her, and she refuses to accept any advice I have tried to give her about her spending.
I have told my mother repeatedly that I do not have the resources to take care of her when she runs out of money. I know she assumes that I will because she is my mother.
How do I deal with a parent who is narcissistic and out of touch with reality? I have told her I'll gladly hand over her finances to my brother, but she doesn't want him to get involved. I have asked him for advice, but he won't respond.
Do I just let her go through everything and struggle in the end, or stick to my guns? After all, it's her money and I can't refuse to make it available to her. Please advise. -- MOTHER'S KEEPER IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR MOTHER'S KEEPER: I suspect your brother is acting the way he is because he's miffed at not being asked to handle the finances to begin with, or he simply wants to stay out of it. But you cannot allow your mother to continue spending her inheritance at the rate she is. Consult the attorney who drafted your father's will and ask if there's a way to not only put the brakes on her, but also take some of the responsibility off your shoulders.
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