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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Admired for Beauty Wants Men to Look Deeper

DEAR ABBY: I have been reading your advice and your mother's for decades. I am an attractive 65-year-old woman. I have no problem meeting men. I have been told numerous times I look 20 years younger than my age.

The problem is, if I hear another man tell me how beautiful I am, I may go ballistic. I want a man to appreciate me for my intellect and my personality.

I thought when I was past 50 I would no longer have to hear about my looks. I want a man to appreciate the person I am inside, not outside. I don't wear makeup, and I don't dress up. What does an old lady do to get a man to appreciate her for her brain and not her looks? -- ANNOYED IN FLORIDA

DEAR ANNOYED: Please cut these poor would-be suitors some slack. Until they get to know the person you are inside, what else would you expect them to say to ingratiate themselves? You have been blessed with good looks, an asset most women would welcome. Stop complaining and appreciate what you have. If you do, you will be an even more beautiful woman inside.

Read more in: Love & Dating

Couple Debates What Defines an Affair

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are having a debate: A married woman is out of town by herself and meets a man two nights in a row for drinks. Over the next few months she talks to him several times on the phone, and then one night he calls her at 9:30, after she is already in bed, and tells her he's in town. So she gets up, gets dressed (drop-dead gorgeous), takes off and meets him. She sits in his truck for an hour, kissing and hugging, no sex or intimate touching. All of this is without her husband's knowledge. Did this woman have an affair? -- JUST CURIOUS IN GEORGIA

DEAR JUST CURIOUS: YEP! And it may have started when she met him when she was out of town. Even if there was no sex act, plenty of intimate physical contact was happening -- and that's what I'd classify as infidelity.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce

Abuse Suffered as a Child May Drive Mom's Behavior

DEAR ABBY: Regarding the letter from "Disgruntled Grandparent" (Dec. 11), whose daughter insisted on always being present when her children were with her mother and father, I have a theory.

My sister would always be present when her children were with our parents. This was because my father had sexually abused her and the rest of us when we were children. She didn't want the same to happen to her children, but also didn't want to deprive them of knowing their grandparents, so that's how she managed it.

Grandma may not know, or understand if she does know, but I'm guessing the daughter is making sure she's present for similar reasons. She wants to ensure it doesn't happen to her kids while continuing to let them interact. These sorts of family dynamics are not black and white, so you manage as best you can with people who you inexplicably still love (or love part of them) but who can't be trusted not to cause great harm.

I recognized that strategy as identical to my sister's, so thought I ought to flag that possible explanation for you. -- ABBY READER IN NEW ZEALAND

DEAR READER: That makes perfect sense, and thank you for writing. "Disgruntled's" letter received a large response and an overwhelming majority of those who wrote suggested a similar scenario. My heart goes out to you for what you and your siblings experienced as children. I hope you were able to get help and support in dealing with the abuse you suffered.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Abuse

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