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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Is Reluctant To Share Memories of His Late Father

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of two years and I recently moved in together. When we first met, he let me know he had lost his father to cancer a few years prior. While I know a little about his father, it is mostly superficial.

As our relationship has progressed -- moving in, talking about our future -- I long to know more about his dad. What kind of a father and husband was he? What special memories does my boyfriend have of spending time with him? However, when I ask questions, I get succinct answers with no elaboration. If I ask more than one question at a time, I feel like I'm pulling teeth, so I just drop it. When I asked if he's uncomfortable talking about it, he says it's fine, but I still know next to nothing.

The only time he brings up his dad is around the time of his dad's birthday, the anniversary of his death or the time when they found out about his prognosis. At those times he is clearly grieving. I don't want to cause my boyfriend more pain, and I worry that I'm being insensitive by asking him to talk about it. Yet, if we are going to start a life together and be a family one day, I want to know about his father. -- CURIOUS IN NEW YORK

DEAR CURIOUS: Your boyfriend may not want to discuss his relationship with his father because the subject is painful, either because of his death or because they were not close. If you want more details, you might have better luck asking your boyfriend's mother or his siblings, if he has any. Because the subject clearly makes him uncomfortable, back off.

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