DEAR ABBY: I am 28 and recently found my biological father through Facebook after more than 20 years of not knowing if he was still alive. Although I am happy that I found him, I'm scared to let my family -- my mom, my stepdad and my sisters -- know I have reconnected with him.
When I asked about my dad years ago (I even had a pic of him), my stepdad felt betrayed and upset that I was even curious. I had to rip up the picture because I felt so guilty that my stepdad was hurt.
I know my stepdad will manipulate the situation (that's just how he is) and con my sisters and my mom into not speaking to me again. On the other hand, I want to create a relationship with my father and start where we left off. I have two beautiful daughters I know he will love to meet, but I am scared because I know this will divide my family. What should I do? -- ANONYMOUS IN THE WEST
DEAR ANONYMOUS: I wish you had disclosed why, for more than 20 years, your birth father had no visitation with you. Whose decision was it -- his? Your mother's? If it was your birth father's, I would question his character.
That said, at the ripe old age of 28, you are an adult and should have the right to decide -- without coercion -- whom you wish to associate with. You shouldn't feel guilty for wanting to get to know your birth father. Those feelings are normal. It won't divide your family if you keep your mouth shut and your private life separate.
DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend, "Crystal," recently dumped me. We were madly in love, and she would constantly message me and tell me how I was perfect, she didn't deserve someone as amazing as me and how I'm the only one she wants in her life. We were talking about moving in together, marriage and our future.
Then all of a sudden a well-known creep with a shady past offered her a job in another state. Crystal's family, friends and I all told her not to take the job or talk to that guy because he's bad news. She took the job, moved across the country and left us all behind.
She has now cut me out of her life. I haven't heard from her, and her mom told me she checks in with her family only occasionally. My question is what did I miss? I know Crystal was always hard on herself and thought she wasn't doing enough with her life, but I was constantly reassuring and encouraging her.
I believe this guy manipulated her and made her think this was her last chance at the career she was seeking. I am afraid she's going to learn a hard lesson and get let down drastically. Is there anything we can do to help her see this? -- BAFFLED AND DEVASTATED
DEAR BAFFLED: No, I am sorry to say there isn't. You didn't miss anything; you were misled. Crystal told you she wanted a future with you when the truth was what she really wanted was a career, and you were Plan B. There's an old saying, "Bad pennies always turn up." If the man who hired her is as shady as you say he is, she'll be back. And I hope you will have moved on long before then.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.