DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband likes to call to ask me for advice. Our most recent conversation was in regard to his girlfriend and her sexual past, which he knew about before they started dating. He now disapproves of her history and he began calling her unpleasant names. He tells me he deserves better but intends to stay with her until he gets bored.
Hearing this sort of talk gives me a stomachache and heartburn. I feel terrible for the woman. I want to be a friend to my ex, but I'm not sure I can handle the stress it causes. He has had a hard life, and I didn't make it any easier by divorcing him.
Is the only solution not to take his calls, like my friends tell me? I'm not sure I can do that without major guilt. -- WISCONSIN READER
DEAR READER: I'll offer another option: The next time your ex starts asking you for relationship advice, tell him you don't like hearing the way he talks about his girlfriend. Explain that it makes you so uncomfortable that you prefer to avoid the topic of his love life. If he respects your wishes, continue taking his calls. If not, because you find them upsetting, refuse them.
And please, stop feeling guilty about the divorce. From your description of your former husband, he is a user, and you're lucky to be rid of him.
DEAR ABBY: I attend a church with about 350 worshippers. The church provides a supervised nursery for infants to 2 years of age. Most parents with babies use it. However, one couple has a 2-year-old child and a 2-month-old baby. These parents do not take advantage of the nursery, but keep the kids in the sanctuary.
Last Sunday the baby, who was in the father's arms, cried during most of the service. The parents may be able to tune it out, but many of us were very distracted by the wailing.
The father is a schoolteacher. I couldn't help but wonder how this teacher would handle a student who caused such a disruption in his classroom. I don't think he would tolerate an hour of loud crying from anyone. Why don't these people understand their behavior prevents others from worshipping as they would like? -- SILENCE, PLEASE
DEAR SILENCE, PLEASE: That's a good question, and one I recommend you pose to the person who was conducting the service. Out of consideration for the congregation, he or she should "remind" the parents that the nursery is available, and stress that in the future it be used to prevent the problem from recurring because the disruption caused "so many complaints."
DEAR ABBY: I was recently a bridesmaid at a friend's wedding. The bride gave all of us bridesmaids gifts after the reception. The bags were fancy and contained expensive gourmet chocolate candy. When I went to open mine, I noticed the box had already been unwrapped and half of it had been eaten. I didn't say anything to the others or the bride because I didn't want to hurt her feelings or seem ungrateful. What should I do? -- BRIDESMAID IN TENNESSEE
DEAR BRIDESMAID: While it's unfortunate, I see no reason to bring it up now. Expensive or not, it's only a box of chocolates, and it appears someone may have bitten off more than they should chew.
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