DEAR ABBY: I am a 19-year-old college student (female) who needs advice regarding something I'm trying to figure out. An ex-boyfriend I'm good friends with recently introduced me to his new girlfriend, and I took a more-than-friendly liking to her at first meeting.
My feelings about her confused me at first. Then I began thinking about my past and realized I'm attracted to both men and women. I always thought I was simply curious, but now I'm sure it's more than that.
My family and friends are liberal and open-minded. I know they'll love me no matter what, but I'm confused about how I feel. While I have dated only men so far, I'd be more than willing to call a woman a partner as well. How do I come to terms with this personal revelation while I'm still exploring it? -- BI-CONFUSED IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR BI-CONFUSED: The logical way to come to terms with the revelation would be to follow it and see where it leads. I would only caution you to make sure the person is available and the interest is mutual when you do.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Aiden," and I have been together for eight months. We're both in our 20s. We go to his parents' house every other week for dinner. I get along with them quite well.
The problem is, Aiden's family eats very quickly, and I'm always the last one done. My family, on the other hand, tends to spend about an hour around the dinner table when we gather. Even when I try to eat quickly, I'm still way behind Aiden's family.
How can I politely address this? I hate to keep people waiting, but I believe it's wrong to leave food on my plate when I'm still hungry. -- CHEWING AS FAST AS I CAN
DEAR CHEWING: I agree you shouldn't leave food on your plate if you are still hungry. Eating slowly, thoroughly chewing one's food and enjoying a meal in a relaxed manner is healthy. Wolfing down one's food really isn't. You are not going to change Aiden's family's lifestyle. If you bring this up, they may become defensive. Just enjoy your food as you have been, and let them enjoy theirs in the way they are used to.
DEAR ABBY: What is an appropriate age to stop sending money or gifts to nieces, nephews and grandchildren? I have two nephews, and one of them turns 22 next month. I have been sending gifts or money for birthdays and Christmas ever since they were born, and I worry that they expect me to keep doing this until I pass away.
It is not that I can't afford to send these gifts, but as adults they shouldn't expect me to continue sending them money. I dread when my nephews start having children. Does that constitute another long-term obligation? -- BUYING THEIR LOVE IN ATLANTA
DEAR BUYING: The appropriate age to turn off the automated gift spigot would be when the "child" stops showing appreciation for the gifts or reaches adulthood. You are not obligated to give your nephews gifts for their children unless you are attending their baby showers or birthday celebrations.
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