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DEAR ABBY: I am 25 and have been with my boyfriend on and off for five years. I love him very much. I often overthink things, and a constant frustration of mine is that he makes no romantic gestures at all. He drowns me in compliments and shows his love in other ways.

I always have to take the initiative and suggest he do romantic things like send me cards or flowers, take me to dinner, etc., but he only does them when I ask. It doesn't feel like enough for me. I worry that when we get married, over time I will grow bored or no longer be attracted to him because he is so unromantic. Am I just overthinking? What should I do? -- ROMANTIC ONE IN AUSTIN

DEAR ROMANTIC: From what you have written it seems that you may be more in love with the idea of romantic gestures than you are with the man you have. Many women would be thrilled to have someone who drowns them with compliments and shows his love in other ways. If you are truly worried that you will be bored if you marry him or -- worse -- turned off, then please, turn him loose so he can find someone who appreciates him for who he is, and you can meet someone who will make your dreams come true.

Read more in: Love & Dating

DEAR ABBY: My friend who was suddenly widowed two years ago continues to insert her late husband into every conversation with friends and strangers alike. She's still depressed, grieving and searching for significance, and she shares it all in person and online.

Early on, she had counseling but no longer feels it necessary. She claims it helps her to talk about him constantly. Most of us close to her avoid the elephant in the room. I find myself apologizing for her in group gatherings I take her to. People try to offer sympathy, but are surprised when they realize he's been gone two years.

I endure with love, but wonder if this is the best path. Personally, I want to let him rest in peace. But that's hard when he's always "in the room." Advice? -- WANTING TO MOVE FORWARD

DEAR WANTING: Everyone grieves in their own way and on their own timetable. However, your friend may need more support and counseling than you and others she meets socially can offer. She has my sympathy, but that deeply grieving woman needs to hear what you have written to me. Tell her, as kindly as possible, that she needs to vent to a professional so she can get more help through this difficult period.


DEAR ABBY: A male family friend who is gay works at a local business my wife and I patronize regularly. We always stop and chat when he's there, but he does something that irritates me. He addresses my wife as "Sweetie." My wife thinks I'm being silly because he's gay; I say one's sexual orientation doesn't negate manners and how one man should address another man's wife. I'm not annoyed to the point that I'd confront the guy, but I promised my wife I'd ask you your opinion. -- BOTHERED IN NEW YORK

DEAR BOTHERED: There is nothing rude about a family friend -- gay or straight -- calling someone's wife "Sweetie." My opinion is you should lighten up.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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