DEAR ABBY: My daughter recently informed me that she has met someone and the someone happens to be a woman. My reaction was, of course, shock and anger, although I have kind of suspected over the years that she is a lesbian.
She is 43 and was married for 10 years. She has two children and has been divorced for about 11 years now. She dated a few guys, but either had no luck with them or it didn't last.
I don't know how to handle this because I'm against people being gay. I see it as unnatural and think they all have issues. I don't treat gay people any different from anyone else, but I do keep them at a distance. Now I don't know how to proceed with our relationship. Please help. -- SHOCKED AND ANGRY MOM
DEAR S. AND A.: I'll try. While you may be angry, because you have long suspected that your daughter might be a lesbian you cannot now claim to be shocked. One reason gay people have "issues," as you put it, is because they have to endure opposition and nonacceptance from the family members they love. Your 43-year-old daughter has spent years not being who she really is -- possibly to please you -- and now has realized she must be her authentic self.
If you want any relationship at all with her, apologize and tell her you overreacted. Tell her you love her and explain that you may need time to fully accept this. Wish her well and hope that she forgives you.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 31-year-old mother of two -- a 3-year-old and a 2-month-old. My children have the same father. We co-parent, which has its ups and downs (more downs). We have been friends with benefits for five years, longer than we were a true couple.
Recently I found out he has introduced our kids to another woman he's dating. I feel hurt because I have feelings for him that I can't let go of. How do I keep from falling apart from the loss of the only relationship I know? I know it's over, but I can't help hoping we will get back together. -- HOPELESSLY IN LOVE
DEAR HOPELESSLY IN LOVE: Because you must interact with him regularly, it may not be easy. A step in the right direction would be to stop stowing your own emotional life in the deep freeze waiting for him to come back.
Because it may take a dose of reality to regain control of your emotions, ask him to level with you about why your relationship didn't lead to marriage. Something important was missing or it would have happened when you had his first child. His response to your question should give you clarity.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a man in my mid-60s. Recently, I had to put my elderly cat, "Taffy," to sleep. I loved her. When the vet asked if I would like some of her ashes, I didn't want to take them home. Instead, I filled a jelly jar with her fur. (She had long hair and I had, for a year, been stuffing the fur I removed from her brush every night into a shoebox.) As a memorial to my beloved Taffy, I added some of her favorite kibble to the hair jar, and it now sits on her favorite window sill. You be the judge -- cute or creepy? -- CAT FANCIER IN FLORIDA
DEAR CAT FANCIER: It is neither. It is the way you have chosen to cope with a painful loss, and you shouldn't be judged -- or judge yourself -- harshly for it. My condolences for your loss.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)