DEAR ABBY: I married "Linda" 22 years ago. Three years later, the marriage was over. After our divorce, I came out as gay. I met a wonderful man in 1996, and we were married in Iowa in 2009.
Over the years, I have wondered how Linda was getting along. I'd like to get back in touch with her. At one time we lived only a few miles from her. I drove by her home, but lost my nerve when I saw her father standing outside. Family members discouraged me from attempting to contact her after our split. I heard a few weeks ago that Linda has remarried, although I'm not sure how long ago.
Obviously, I have no desire to rekindle a romance. I'm happily married and assume she is, too. I would like to talk with her, but I don't know if it would be a mistake. I have considered contacting her via a third party. What do you think? -- LINDA'S EX IN COUNCIL BLUFFS
DEAR EX: Before reaching out you need to ask yourself what you would gain by making contact, and equally important, what Linda would gain. If she blamed herself for the failure of the marriage, contact with you might be reassuring. If you realized your true sexual orientation only after the divorce, then telling her might relieve any guilt you have about it. But only you -- not I -- can make this decision.
DEAR ABBY: I am writing to protest something that has made shopping increasingly frustrating. I'm referring to rude people who cut in ahead of customers who have been standing in line when the clerk calls out, "Next, please."
I place the responsibility solely on store management to ensure that lines move smoothly and fairly. Stores that have such arrangements are more likely to get my business. Management must empower clerks to insist on fairness in this regard. I have seen too many weak salespeople accept whoever rushes forward first.
I'm sure that many other readers have experienced the same frustration I have. If you print this, I promise I will copy it and send it to the store management where I've had these experiences. Abby, this would be a great service to shoppers and would make shopping much more pleasant for everyone. -- AVERAGE SHOPPER, OAKLAND, CALIF.
DEAR AVERAGE SHOPPER: Unfortunately, most cashiers are usually so preoccupied with ringing up or scanning and bagging the purchases that they can't concern themselves with the occasional line-jumper. Therefore, it's up to you to assert yourself by saying firmly, "Excuse me, but I was next in line" when someone steps in front of you.
DEAR ABBY: My husband is undergoing a yearlong cancer treatment. Recently, his brother told him he had two friends who have died of the same cancer that he has. My husband, who is already depressed from the medication he's on, became even more depressed.
One day, we ran into another friend of ours, who shared in great detail her nephew's long and traumatic battle with cancer. When she left we felt shattered.
Abby, please remind people to be sensitive to those who are dealing with an illness and to refrain from sharing horror stories. We need hope and encouragement. -- DISGUSTED IN PHOENIX
DEAR DISGUSTED: I'm glad to help you spread your commonsense message. All it takes is a moment to think before you speak.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)