DEAR ABBY: I'm a gay male college student who is out and comfortable with who I am -- 99 percent of the time. When I was in high school, I tried to come out to my parents and it didn't go smoothly. They had an emotional crisis for a day, then shrugged it off as "just another teenage phase." After the panic mode was over, they bought me off with an expensive car and continued believing I'm straight.
I make no attempt to hide who I am because I expect to be treated the same, regardless. But it's awkward whenever I am asked by either parent, "Do you have a girlfriend?" or, "How are you doing with the ladies?"
Do you have any advice on what I should say in response, given my parents' emotional reaction? -- IT'S WHO I AM IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR WHO I AM: It is obvious that your parents are in denial. If you haven't told them again about your sexual orientation, you should.
If you are unable to summon up the words to tell them what they are waiting for isn't going to happen, then contact PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays -- pflag.org), not only for your own sake, but also for theirs. In light of your parents' reaction the last time you leveled with them, they may need emotional support to accept that you are gay, and PFLAG can provide it.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my husband for a year. We dated for four years before the wedding, and we have a son together. The child and I have never met any of my husband's immediate family. I have never spoken to any of them over the phone, either.
He has met all of my family members. I have asked repeatedly to meet his, and he tells me he's planning a family trip to visit. He seemed annoyed when I brought it up. What should I do? -- LEFT OUT IN FLORIDA
DEAR LEFT OUT: That you have had no contact with these people in the five years you've been in the picture is, frankly, beyond strange. It appears there may be some things your husband hasn't told you. He may be ashamed of his family, on the outs with them, or they were never told about his involvement with you and/or the existence of their grandchild.
Because you have now been a member of their family for a year, pick up the phone, call your in-laws and introduce yourself.
DEAR ABBY: Please help to settle a debate between my husband and me. Is it all right for a woman to give relationship advice to her friend?
I have a friend who is struggling in her relationship, and I have tried to help with advice I feel is appropriate and positive. Is this wrong, or should I stay out of it like my husband suggests? -- GOOD FRIEND IN TEXAS
DEAR GOOD FRIEND: Part of female friendship is sharing experiences and advice with each other. However, remember that if your friend is "struggling" in this relationship, in the final analysis, she's going to have to resolve the problems herself. If she is unable to do that without coming back to you again and again, then her relationship probably won't last in spite of your best efforts.
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