DEAR ABBY: I'm a 47-year-old woman who started dating "Earl" about three weeks ago. We had gotten off to a great start. We talk easily, we're comfortable with each other and we seem to share similiar values.
Last week, Earl's mom passed away, which has made continuing the relationship difficult. He was close to her and, understandably, is going through a rough time.
I'm willing to stick by him and go through this painful process with him. I have been through it myself. Earl said he still wants to see me, but because of what he's dealing with, if someone else comes along, I should take that opportunity.
Abby, I don't want to look for anyone else. I already care a lot for Earl, but I'm confused about what to do. I have had enough hurt to last me the rest of me life, and I know Earl could tell me at any time that he can no longer handle this because of his situation. Please tell me what I should do. -- LADY IN WAITING
DEAR LADY IN WAITING: You seem like a nice, but needy lady. You have known Earl a grand total of three weeks, which is not long enough for either of you to make serious plans. Right now Earl needs your support and friendship more than he needs a romance, so slow down.
Be there if he needs to talk. Offer to cook him dinner once a week. But do not pressure him or he will be history.
DEAR ABBY: I have found my soul mate. We have a newborn son and are very happy. We plan to be married next year, after we have saved enough for the wedding.
I have been hiding a secret from him. I have had bulimia for 20 years. Should I tell him before we marry? I am terrified it will harm our relationship. How can I tell him without hurting him? I'm afraid he won't understand what it will take for me to heal myself. He will be worried about my health. Please advise, Abby. -- KEEPING IT TO MYSELF
DEAR KEEPING IT TO YOURSELF: You should absolutely tell him before you marry. You should also be prepared to honestly answer any questions he may ask about your eating disorder. What would hurt him and harm your relationship would be to marry him without his knowing the facts about your illness. If he is truly your soul mate, he won't run away. He will stand by you and support you any way he can to become well again.
DEAR ABBY: Is it OK for a married woman to physically touch someone of the opposite sex? When we were in a restaurant, my wife reached toward the waiter and put her hand on his arm.
At a football game, she leaned over and touched a kid on his shoulders with both hands to express her feelings about one of our grandsons scoring a touchdown.
She also has a habit of calling other males "Hon." Is this normal? I have told my wife a number of times that she should stop it, but she says I don't "own" her and she can do whatever she wants. -- ANNOYED HUSBAND IN ILLINOIS
DEAR ANNOYED HUSBAND: It appears you married a "toucher." That's someone who needs to make physical contact with another person in order to feel she has "connected." It is harmless, and you should not feel threatened by it. As to her calling other men "Hon," it's possible she does it because she can't remember the person's name. Lighten up, and she may respond by being less defensive.
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