DEAR ABBY: My daughter thinks if people are busy they should not answer the phone. I believe it's better to answer and tell the person you're busy and that you will return their call. Sometimes she doesn't call me back for nine hours or even the next day. Then I find out she was watching a movie or walking her dog, and didn't think my call was "important" enough to respond promptly. As her mother, if I don't hear back, I start to worry, even though she's in her 20s and married with a family.
When she calls me and I say I'm busy and will call her back, she gets mad and says I shouldn't have answered at all. Will you please tell us what you think? -- KARI IN MONTANA
DEAR KARI: OK. I think that for your daughter to keep you waiting nine hours for a return call if she can answer more promptly shows a lack of respect for your feelings. And for you to obsess that something awful might have happened is a waste of your time because, trust me, bad news travels fast. It's also possible that you may be calling too often. But only you can answer that.
DEAR ABBY: Some members of my family continually ask me for money. I feel obligated because they are family and they helped me in the past. But since then, I have turned my life around.
I have a great job, a home and I'm in a serious relationship. This isn't the first time they have asked. I have tried refusing, but they persist and after a while I feel guilty.
This is creating a rift between my girlfriend and me. She feels these family members need to take responsibility for their own problems and make choices to better themselves rather than rely on others to enable their bad habits. How do I put an end to this annoyance? -- CASHED OUT
DEAR CASHED OUT: There is a difference between giving people money to enable them to continue making poor choices, and giving them money if they are really in need. Because your relatives helped you when you needed money to tide you over, there is a moral obligation for you to reciprocate if they are truly in need.
DEAR ABBY: When I met my husband he was married. I told him at first that I was not interested. But as time went on he ended up divorcing his wife. We have been together for 11 years, married for three.
The problem is his kids. They are all adults. His youngest was 15 when he left. The daughter is angry and blames me for his leaving. This was not the first time he had left her mother. He had a child from another relationship who was conceived during one of his absences.
I am getting tired of the drama and I'm about ready to divorce him for my peace of mind. During the time we have been together he has never strayed and has always been there for me. Should we divorce? -- SECOND WIFE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR SECOND WIFE: Heck, no! If you love your husband, stick with him. Because your husband's daughter is creating drama, he should set her straight. She may feel that he didn't love her enough to stay, when the truth is that his marriage to her mother had been on the rocks for years. He should also make sure she understands that if she wants him in her life, she will need to make an attitude adjustment.
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