DEAR ABBY: I am a 57-year-old man who has been divorced for eight years. (My ex-wife was the one who filed.) I recently reconnected with my ex-wife's sister, "Edith," whom I hadn't seen in years. We began a friendship, which has evolved into a serious relationship.
My ex is having issues with our romance and has been trying to turn friends, our grown children and our parents against us. We are both single and enjoy each other's company. Is there any reason why we should not pursue this relationship, because "we're upsetting my ex-wife's family"? -- TWO LOVERS IN NEW YORK
DEAR TWO LOVERS: When your wife left you, she lost the right to dictate what you should do with your life -- including whom you date or even marry next. She is acting like the proverbial dog in the manger, and I sincerely hope your friends and family don't let her get away with it. Now go and have a good life, because you and Edith deserve one.
DEAR ABBY: Ever since I can remember, I have felt like my mother hates me. Growing up, my two brothers got whatever they wanted while I had to beg for things I wanted. An example: My brothers were given a car for graduation; I got contact lenses. Neither one could do anything wrong in my mother's eyes, but whatever I did was wrong.
Now that I'm an adult, she still treats me this way, and it's making me depressed. I have medical issues that she refuses to believe I have. What can I do to make my mother like me? -- DEPRESSED DAUGHTER IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR DEPRESSED: It would be interesting to know what kind of a relationship your mother had with her own mother, because it's possible that she's repeating a pattern she learned when she was a child.
I'm sorry you are hurting because of the way she has treated you, but it isn't possible to "make" somebody -- even a parent -- have feelings that just aren't there. What might help you is to discuss your dysfunctional relationship with your mother with a licensed mental health professional who can help you understand that if there is fault involved, it belongs solely with her and not you.
DEAR ABBY: I have a friend who calls 20 times a day. If one of my kids asks me something and I ask her to hang on while I respond, she hangs up on me. We have had a falling-out over this more than once.
I think it's rude of her to just hang up. I feel it would be different if she called only a few times a week for a few minutes, but that's not the case. She feels I am being rude to ask her to hang on, and that my kids should either wait until we are finished or go on about their business and come back to talk to me later. However, they can't always do that. They try really hard not to interrupt, but sometimes they just have to because of time. Am I wrong to be upset? -- HOLD ON JUST A MINUTE
DEAR HOLD ON: No, you are not wrong. Your children are trying to be cooperative and respectful. It is your friend who is being unreasonable. Your children should come first, and if the woman can't understand that, perhaps you should cultivate friends who are more tolerant and less chatty (20 times a day!).
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