DEAR ABBY: I'm a 50-year-old female, married 26 years, with three grown children. When I was 16, I dated a guy, "Oliver," I cared for very much. We got along, never argued and were very close. The attachment we had I have never experienced since.
Months after we broke up, my mom told me that because we were of different races, she had called Oliver's parents and told them to keep him away from me because we were getting too close.
We both moved on, but through the years I have thought of him often. Sixteen months ago, I found him online. He lives a half-hour away, has two teenagers and is unhappy in his marriage. We spoke on the phone or online for a year. Over the last few months we have been meeting at a nearby park. Our connection is still there. We are soul mates and no longer want to be without each other. And no, we have NOT had sex.
My husband has been good to me. I love him, but I'm not "in love" with him. I am torn between staying with my husband to honor the commitment to my family, or following my heart with Oliver. I'm in love with him and don't want to lose him a second time. -- ANOTHER CHANCE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR CHANCE: You say you're torn between your commitment to your family or following your heart. But what about Oliver's commitment to his family? Although your children are grown, his aren't. They still need a father at home.
If the feelings you have carried in your heart all these years for Oliver are more than a fantasy, they won't wither if you postpone acting on your feelings. Are you strong enough to do that? Whether you're up to the challenge is something only the two of you can decide.
DEAR ABBY: I have a close friend, "Lindy," who is dying from liver cancer. She could no longer eat or drink even before the chemo was started, and she sleeps most of the time. The chemo has done nothing more for her than make her lose her hair.
Lindy is adamant that she'll beat the cancer. To that end, she wants nothing "negative" passed on to outsiders, including her relatives who live eight hours away. She has no family here except her boyfriend, whom she won't allow to talk to her doctor. He refuses to go against her wishes.
I am torn between being loyal to my friend's belief that she'll get better, or notifying her family about how sick she really is so they can visit her before she passes. If they come, Lindy will be furious (if she's still coherent). But if they don't have the opportunity, it will be unfair to them.
My heart tells me to call Lindy's family and tell them to consider a visit sooner rather than later. What do you think? -- CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE
DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: I think that if Lindy were as close to her family as you imagine, they would have some inkling that she's ill. That you are aware of her illness shows how much she trusts you and cares for you. The people who are most important to her know about her condition, so please respect her wishes.
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.)