DEAR ABBY: I am a 58-year-old recent widower. My wife and I were very happy for 29 years, and that included a satisfying sex life. Although I am not ready to date yet, I continue to have a strong sex drive.
I'm finding the Internet is a good alternative to "hooking up" at this time. However -- and this is embarrassing to admit at my age -- I'm beginning to wonder if I have crossed a line into spending too much time online.
My question is, how much is too much? I want to be healthy and in balance with this, but for the first time, I understand how people can become addicted to Internet porn. Guidelines, please? -- JUST WONDERING IN GEORGIA
DEAR JUST WONDERING: You have my sympathy for your loss. Because you are concerned enough about the amount of time you're spending on adult Internet sites that you're asking me about it, I think we both know that you're not spending enough time in the real world. If this has become so much of a preoccupation that you're substituting porn for relationships with real people, then you are "overdosing" and could benefit from talking to a psychologist about it. (You might find it easier to confide in one who's male.)
DEAR ABBY: During a disagreement with my boyfriend, he called me a "b----." We have been together for 13 years, and he has never disrespected or degraded me that way before. He apologized later and said what he meant was I was acting like one (as if that's any better), but I'm having a hard time getting past this.
When he called me that, I was stunned. I felt nauseated the rest of the day, as if he had literally punched me in the stomach. Am I wrong to react this way? Am I making a big deal out of it, and should I just accept his apology and let it go? I just feel so hurt. -- DEGRADED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR DEGRADED: People often say things they don't mean -- or something they later regret -- in the heat of an argument. One slip of the tongue after 13 years together shouldn't be a deal-breaker. Accept his apology and move on already.
DEAR ABBY: I have a co-worker who is deaf. We eat lunch together every day and usually get along well. She recently told me that when she goes out with friends, she gets drunk and then drives herself home. I tried explaining why that's not a good idea, but she got defensive and told me she's a grown woman and not to lecture her because it's her decision.
I have now lost so much respect for her that I'm no longer comfortable eating with her. What should I do? -- SOBER IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR SOBER: A deaf person has extra challenges while driving and has to be extra safety-conscious behind the wheel. Add booze to that equation, and it could mean disaster. You have spoken your mind and she has spoken hers. Because you're no longer comfortable eating with her, find another luncheon companion.