DEAR ABBY: I fell in love with a boy when I was 12, deeply in love. We met at our county fair. We grew up together and have remained friends for 30 years. He married and had children, as did I. I am now divorced, but he's still married.
Recently our friendship has grown into something more. He wants our relationship to continue, but he's afraid to leave his wife because of the kids. They have been together for 20 years.
What do I do? He's the love of my life. Any time I have with him is better than none. It's not that I don't know I deserve better, but he is unhappy, and I am miserable without him. What do I do? -- PRISONER OF PASSION IN VIRGINIA
DEAR PRISONER: What you do depends upon your strength of character and what you want out of life. If you want to spend the foreseeable future as this man's "side dish," then continue as you have been, a "prisoner of passion" with not much common sense. If you would like to have a stable life and find a man who will make you No. 1 in his life, then you will have to call a halt to this affair and go through a period of withdrawal -- the same as people have to do with any addiction. It may not be pleasant, but I recommend it.
DEAR ABBY: I'm turning 75 soon, and enjoying retirement, good health and a comfortable lifestyle, which is why I have arranged a "Celebration of My Life -- So Far." I'm excited about it and eagerly anticipating more than 60 guests for cocktails and a sit-down dinner at a nearby hotel.
It's not uncommon these days for a celebration of life to be held after someone dies. However, I prefer to have mine BEFORE I leave this Earth so I can celebrate along with my loved ones. I want to be there, especially since I'm the one who's paying for it!
What do you think of my idea? Would you enjoy partaking in such a special event? -- THINKING AHEAD IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR THINKING AHEAD: I think it's a terrific idea. And yes, I would enjoy celebrating such a special event, if I were invited. When is this party? I'll be standing by my mailbox!
DEAR ABBY: Why is it socially acceptable to refer to a grown woman as a "girl," and yet it would never be appropriate to call a man a "boy"? -- BARBARA IN HUNTSVILLE, ALA.
DEAR BARBARA: I'm not sure whether all women would accept being called a "girl." In fact, some would find it condescending and offensive. If you call a man a "boy," he could regard it as an assault on his masculinity.
And yet, I have heard those terms used in the third person, as in, "What's my husband doing on Saturday? He'll be out playing golf with the boys, while I'll be going to lunch with the girls." And I have never heard that it was offensive to either sex.
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