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by Abigail Van Buren

Boyfriend's Chronic Conditions Prompt Partner to Weigh Options

DEAR ABBY: Fifteen years ago my sister-in-law and I had a mutual friend, "Barbie," who told me something unflattering about my sister-in-law. My relationship with my sister-in-law has been fractured ever since. I have since severed my relations with this "friend" for numerous other reasons, but Barbie is still good friends with my sister-in-law.

Recently, I have felt that I should let my sister-in-law know how this woman betrayed her friendship by telling me her secret. Should I tell my sister-in-law or leave it alone and let her find out for herself? Seeing her buddy up to this person makes me crazy. -- GOING NUTS IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR GOING NUTS: If a friend of mine leaked personal information about me, I would want to know, wouldn't you? Your sister-in-law is friendly with Barbie because she doesn't know she can't be trusted. Rather than tell your sister-in-law what you were told, approach it this way: "Is it true that ...?" And when she asks where you got such an idea, then tell her it's what Barbie told you.