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Obsession With Television Romances Worries Woman's Older Sister

DEAR ABBY: My 22-year-old sister is unhealthily fixated on a particular cable TV channel. She will only watch this channel and is obsessed with the love stories and relationship movies. This goes far beyond a simple "like" for something, and I'm afraid she's using it as a way to avoid developing real relationships. She has few friends and has never been in a relationship. I have tried to get her to stop watching it, but it never ends well. How can I help her move away from the television set and into the real world? -- FANTASY VS. REALITY IN FLORIDA

DEAR F. VS. R.: Watching romantic movies with guaranteed happy endings (if only life were really like that!) is your sister's "safe" way of vicariously enjoying idealized relationships. Continue encouraging her to take some risk and join the real world by inviting her to join you in social groups. But until she realizes for herself that she needs to do it, it won't happen. Counseling could help her, but she won't accept it until she admits to herself that she needs help to develop the social skills she lacks and is willing to reach out for it.

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