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by Abigail Van Buren

New Owner Has Serial Affairs With Restaurant Staff Members

DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing a man for the last few months. His brother and my cousin have been dating for four years. He's 35, and I'm 23.

He is about to be divorced and has a record, but the last crime he committed was 10 years ago. If not for the fact that his brother is dating my cousin, I'd be much more skeptical. But my cousin has never had anything bad to say about him, and I'm confident if there were, she would tell me.

My family is adamantly against the relationship. They say he's too old for me, I should be more concerned about his criminal history, and no one they know has anything good to say about him. I'm conflicted about moving forward because I'm afraid of the rifts it would cause with my relatives.

I have had a lot of anxiety over this. I am also hurt that we weren't given the chance to reveal his past so he could be as transparent with my parents as he has been with me about it. Any advice? -- ANXIOUS IN ARKANSAS

DEAR ANXIOUS: Because you have been seeing this man for several months, long enough to develop serious feelings for him, you should have talked to your parents about his history before they heard it from others. Because they love you, their feelings are understandable. If there is any hope of changing their minds, you and your boyfriend should speak to them together so he can address their concerns.