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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am in a happy and healthy long-term relationship. Since neither of us wants kids, we don't feel the need to marry. Because I don't want children, my grandmother has decided I don't deserve any inheritance. She has rewritten her will, leaving everything to my younger cousin who is the only grandchild likely to have children.

It makes me feel awful, as though I am not worthy in her eyes because of my choice. It isn't about the money, Abby. My feelings are hurt because my grandmother can't accept me without a child.

Is there a way to broach the subject without sounding like I'm just after her money? -- DISINHERITED GRANDCHILD IN COLORADO

DEAR DISINHERITED: How do you know you have been written out of your grandmother's will? Did she tell you or did you hear it from someone else?

It would not be confrontational to tell your grandmother you were hurt when you heard the news because it made you feel "less than." The decision whether or not to have a child is a personal one, and couples who don't want to be parents are likely to make less than wonderful ones.

Your grandmother may or may not have changed her will because of your choice, but it's also possible that she would like her assets to be passed down to grandchildren and beyond. You'll never know unless you ask.

DEAR ABBY: What does someone who is an older adult do when she needs to be held and listened to, and when she has no one to do this with her?

I'm sure I'm not the only woman who has found herself in this situation. What do others do when this is needed? Sometimes I just need to be held, listened to and reassured. -- IOWA READER

DEAR READER: The need for human contact is part of the human condition, and I can tell you what I did before I met my husband: When I was feeling down, I'd ask a friend for a hug, a willing ear and some reassurance. I can't imagine anyone refusing. At some point everyone needs what you're asking for.

Other ways to combat the blues include staying occupied with hobbies that interest you, socializing with friends and getting regular exercise. If readers would like to chime in and share what they do, I'll be glad to pass along their suggestions.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I stopped at a rest stop to use the facilities. I noticed a man with a little girl who appeared to be about 3 years old go into the men's bathroom. I wanted to ask if he would like me to take the child into the women's bathroom while he waited outside the door for me to return her to him, however I hesitated and didn't do it.

When my husband came back to the car I asked him what the child encountered in the men's bathroom. He said she had to pass by the urinals with the men urinating. I felt terrible for not speaking up.

Would it have been wrong to volunteer to take the little girl into the women's bathroom? Perhaps I'm too sensitive to matters like this, but I haven't seen it addressed anywhere. -- CONCERNED IN FLORIDA

DEAR CONCERNED: What the child encountered when her father took her into the men's bathroom was probably a line of men with their backs to her, and I assume he took her into the stall toilet. However, it would have been kind of you to volunteer, and probably very much appreciated.

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.)