DEAR ABBY: I'm 42 years old and in my second marriage. My first husband was very abusive. My second loves me, respects me, defends me and has brought out the best in me. But I don't feel like I do the same for him.
Things will get good in our relationship, and then I will lose perspective again, which causes conflict. How do I fix that? How do I find it again, and the sex drive I have lost? I'm so happy. He makes me just glow at times. -- TRYING TO FIND MYSELF
DEAR TRYING: The best place to find your perspective would be on the couch of a licensed mental health therapist. It appears you may have brought the baggage from your first marriage into this one. It's not unusual for people who have been in abusive relationships to have emotional scars. Start interviewing now, and don't stop until you find someone you are comfortable confiding in.
DEAR ABBY: I have a dear friend I met at work three years ago. She's African-American. We have lunch or coffee almost weekly. She always arrives late for our get-togethers, but lately it's become too much. She has made me wait 40 minutes to an hour rather than the usual 10 to 20 minutes. When I show my frustration, she says she is on BPT (Black People Time).
I have tried adopting her lifestyle of being late, but it makes me anxious because I am a very prompt person. I have heard comedians talk about BPT, but I know not all black people do this because I work with others who are considerate of other people's time. Any suggestions? -- LADY IN WAITING
DEAR LADY IN WAITING: What your friend is doing is showing a lack of respect not only for your time but also for your feelings. The next time you arrange to see her, warn her that in the future you will wait no more than 15 minutes, and if she doesn't show up, you will leave. Then do it. If seeing you is important to her, she'll manage to get there. If not, you will know you need to make arrangements with other friends for coffee and lunch.
DEAR ABBY: I am a funeral director by trade, but a couple of years ago one of my good friends asked me to officiate at his wedding. I was happy to do it, and I have since been asked by several other friends to perform their wedding ceremonies, too. I did three last year and have two scheduled for this year.
I am always happy to help, and I don't charge an honorarium. My question is: Am I required to give the couple a gift? I'd like to do what is appropriate. -- MARRYING & BURYING IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR M&B: No rule of etiquette requires you to give the couple a gift in addition to the services you are performing for free. If you would like to give them something in addition, by all means do, but it shouldn't be expected.