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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife Demurs Advances Made by Men Reconnecting Online

DEAR ABBY: I have been happily married for more than 20 years. I joined an online social network to keep in touch with family, friends and my kids who are in college. I love the convenience, but I'm in a quandary.

A number of men from my past (some I dated and some not) have contacted me online with their phone numbers and asked me to call them. I was flattered at first, but now I think phone communication would be inviting trouble.

I politely inform friends who push the issue that I'm happy to catch up online, but out of respect for my husband and my marriage I don't call men who send me their numbers. Most of them then drop further attempts at communication; others do not.

My problem is it continues to happen. I don't remember being that popular when I was young, so it has caught me off guard. I suspended my account several times, but reactivated it because I miss the connection with extended family and friends.

I'm getting turned off to responding to any "friend" requests anymore because it seems that most men just want to recapture some youthful fantasy. How do I handle this? -- BLAST FROM THE PAST

DEAR BLAST: You are handling it very well just the way you are.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Ian," and I are in our 30s. Although we have been together for seven months, his family is not yet over his ex-wife. They invite her for dinner, share weekend visitation with Ian's daughter with her, and remind him constantly that they are disappointed with his decision.

Ian has moved on. He would like to cut all ties with his ex, but his family won't allow it. He's afraid if he puts his foot down it will destroy the already strained relationship he has with them.

My family accepts Ian, but his refuses to admit I exist. How do we deal with this? It's Ian's life, and he has the right to choose who he spends it with. -- INVISIBLE WOMAN IN PHILLY

DEAR INVISIBLE WOMAN: Toughen up, grit your teeth and continue the relationship. Remember, because a child is involved, Ian cannot completely move on. As for his parents, accept that their grandchild's mother will always be a part of their lives so get used to it. If this romance leads to the altar, you will meet Ian's family at some point.

DEAR ABBY: My friend "Cailin" is very sensitive and not very accepting. She's also unforgiving and tends to get into stupid arguments about nothing. Since the sixth grade it has gotten even worse.

There is a new girl in school who seems to be a really nice, friendly person. Cailin was the first one to meet her and she wouldn't let anyone else sit with them.

I told my mom about it and she said to just sit down with them both. Today I did what my mom said to do. When Cailin saw us together, she was steaming. She ignored me for the rest of the day.

I don't want to keep the new girl, just share her. Why can't Cailin and I both be friends with her? Is there any way I could talk to her? I'm considering talking to the dean of students. Would this be OK? -- SHARING FRIENDS IN COLORADO

DEAR SHARING FRIENDS: Cailin is immature, insecure and possessive. She's afraid that if the new girl talks to other people, the girl will no longer like and depend on her. That's why she was angry when you sat down with them.

By all means discuss this with the dean of students. The dean may have a solution that will allow the new girl a chance to make friends with more of her classmates -- including you.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)