DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for three years. I trust him with my whole heart. He is the sweetest man I know. Lately, I have been wanting to know more about his brother. My husband hasn't said much about him other than he was murdered in prison about 10 years ago.
I'm not saying that he and his family are lying, but I did some research on the Web and came across multiple websites about my husband's brother. Yes, he was in prison, but I'm not sure he was actually murdered there. Some details are better left unsaid.
I know, of course, that you can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but there is more than one Google page with a lot of information.
I want to talk to my husband and find out what really happened and try to get to know his brother, but I'm scared he will get angry and even shut me out, and I don't want that to happen. Please give me some advice on what to do. I just want some straight answers -- no more sweeping it under the carpet. -- IN THE DARK IN OHIO
DEAR IN THE DARK: There is always a risk when someone goes poking around the family closet and starts rattling the skeletons. I suggest you be frank with your husband. Tell him you were curious about his brother, went on the Internet, found some surprising information and would like some honest answers. If you trust him with your whole heart, then his response will tell you all you need to know.
DEAR ABBY: I am a widow with five daughters. The youngest is 8, and the others are in their late teens and early 20s. I am self-employed, work from home and very involved in my kids' lives.
I have a boyfriend I have been seeing for the last 18 months. I spend the night with him two or three times a month, which involves less than a 24-hour stay.
I would like to have an extended weekend or a short vacation with him, but he is balking. He says I shouldn't be away from my baby that long. He grew up with a very distant mother and had an unhappy childhood. My daughter spends a lot of time with me, but still enjoys her "sister time."
How can I get him to realize that my being away for a few days would recharge me and make me a better mom? -- BADLY IN NEED OF A BREAK
DEAR BADLY IN NEED: If you haven't already pointed out to this man that his childhood was far different than the one you have provided for your children, then you should.
I am somewhat concerned that he is giving you parenting advice, since nowhere in your letter did you mention that he has any children. It occurs to me that he may have his own reasons for not spending more time with you than he does, and if I'm right, you need to get to the bottom of what they are -- because I don't think he's giving you the whole story.
DEAR ABBY: My husband goes into a tirade if anyone has a taste of food or a bread roll before a meal is properly served. He goes off on everyone -- even a child who has had to wait because the meal is late or they just love light rolls.
We have great respect for your answers. He threatened to write you, so I called his bluff. What do you think about this? -- LOSING MY APPETITE IN VIRGINIA
DEAR LOSING: I think your husband appears to be excessively controlling. For him to expect hungry people to sit at a table with food and not partake of it is unrealistic, unless it's a formal dinner party. Children should be taught proper table manners, but to force a hungry child to sit at a table with bread on it for fear of a tirade is, in my opinion, abusive.
People sometimes overreact the way your husband does because they have low blood sugar. Could this be his problem?
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)