DEAR ABBY: My mother has this odd habit that my younger sister, "Sara," and I don't agree with. It's only the three of us in our house, and Sara and I are in high school and college.
Our mother forces one of us to sleep with her in her room every night. Sara sleeps in Mom's room more often than I do, and rarely gets a chance to sleep in her own bed. On the few occasions when Sara is sick, I sleep with Mom. But if we're both sick, she picks one of us anyway.
Abby, this has persisted for years. I have tried many times to convince my mother to let us sleep in our own rooms, but she ignores me or accuses me of "not loving her enough." She says the same things to Sara.
I'm worried about my mother. I feel as though she's depressed or worried about being abandoned. At the same time, I don't want us sleeping in Mom's bed forever. We have our own lives and rooms. What would be the best thing to do in this situation? -- SLEEPOVER IN MARYLAND
DEAR SLEEPOVER: Your mother is an adult who should long ago have learned to sleep alone. She should not be trying to "guilt" you and your sister into sleeping with her by accusing you of not loving her enough if you don't spend the night in her bed. The two of you should ask her together why she's doing this.
You young ladies are old enough to simply refuse if you would rather sleep in your own rooms. But breaking this habit may not be easy for your mother, so if she says she can't sleep without one of you with her, volunteer to stay with her until she falls asleep and then go to your rooms.
DEAR ABBY: I am divorced after a 38-year marriage. The divorce was the result of an affair my husband had. Needless to say, it was -- and still is -- very painful. The betrayal almost killed me.
I have been seeing a therapist who has helped me immensely, but I wonder if I will ever fully recover from the hurt. My ex has started a new life with this woman, who is almost 30 years younger than we are, and he acts like, "Oh well, it's over." Even though I have moved on, starting a new life at 60 wasn't easy.
Is it unreasonable to still have lingering pain and anger as a result of the lies and deceit I experienced from a man I loved and trusted? I can't seem to pretend that nothing happened. -- STILL HURTING
DEAR STILL HURTING: I think your feelings are normal. Something did happen to you, and it was cataclysmic. The question is, to what degree are you willing to allow this to rule your life?
You shouldn't pretend that nothing happened, but it's important that when your thoughts drift backward that you make a conscious effort to steer them back to the present. Devote the same energy that you spend nursing hurt and anger to focusing on the future and what makes you happy. Will yourself to stay in the present and keep moving forward.
This takes focus, practice and determination, but it can be done. And continue to maintain a relationship with your therapist, because if you do, it will provide a much-needed "reality check" when you need one.
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