DEAR ABBY: I am 19 and have a 10-month-old daughter. Her dad and I broke up five months ago because we were fighting a lot, most of it caused by him. I have been dating a new guy, "Ron," for three months.
Lately, my baby's dad has been trying to convince me he has changed, and he wants me to take him back. I still have feelings for him, but I'm in love with Ron. I don't want to lose what I have for a shot in the dark, but what if my ex really has changed? Plus, the relationship I have with Ron is a long-distance one. As much as I'd love it to work, I don't know how to deal with the distance. Do you have any advice on how to make it less heartbreaking when we are apart? -- YOUNG MOM IN FLORIDA
DEAR YOUNG MOM: If you were in love with your baby's father, you wouldn't have fallen in love with Ron so fast. If you were in love with Ron, you wouldn't be debating whether to reunite with your argumentative ex because he's geographically closer.
The way adults deal with extended separations from the people they love is to stay busy. They work, take classes, volunteer their extra time to causes they believe in. They do not bounce like tennis balls from romance to romance. And if they have a 10-month-old, they devote their attention to helping their little one go from a crawl to a walk.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter, 13, and son, 11, have been taking piano lessons for six years. My 5-year-old has just started. They are all bright children, and the lessons were at their request. I told them they would not be able to quit until they were "older," but now the two older kids are fighting me to quit. I tell them I have never met anyone who was glad he or she stopped taking piano lessons. I say the lessons are good for their brains, teach them discipline, and it sure beats surfing the computer or playing video games. Not only are they making me miserable, but their attitude is rubbing off on the little one.
My husband is deceased, and he always thought it was a good idea for them to take lessons. The kids are now involving my mother, who is taking their side. What should I do? -- DISCORDANT FAMILY, NEW CASTLE, PA.
DEAR DISCORDANT: Your older children have had many years to learn to love the piano. If it hasn't happened by now, forcing them to continue won't improve the situation. Children are more cooperative when they have choices and ownership of the outcome.
Because you would prefer your daughter practice the piano rather than surf the Net or play video games, ask your 13-year-old what constructive activity she plans to substitute in its place. You might be pleasantly surprised by her answer.
Tell your 11-year-old and 5-year-old that they will be taking lessons until they are 13, at which point they, too, will be given the choice of what they would like to substitute -- subject to your approval. If you do, there will be less conflict, and your youngest child will no longer be surrounded by the same level of negativity.
DEAR ABBY: In years past, I have lost three friends. Because we lived many miles apart, I learned the sad news when their widows informed me by letter of their deaths.
In each case, the widow had blackened out the name of her spouse on the return address labels. My mother-in-law did the same thing when her husband died.
What prompts these women to eliminate evidence of their loved one so quickly? -- GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
DEAR GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Pragmatism.
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