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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: After an abusive relationship ended 14 years ago, I stayed single and raised my small son to adulthood. I dated here and there, but never found anyone I had serious feelings for who also felt the same way about me until seven months ago.

My feelings for my boyfriend are strong, and it's mutual. He is giving, kind, caring, hardworking and protective. We are very much in love. He tells me he feels like he can be himself around me, something he has never had before. I've never had anyone care so much about my well-being.

We talk about everything and differ on only one point so far. I'm in education and an LGBTQ ally. He feels strongly that nature dictates that only a man and a woman belong together, and he says he hates gay people. (We both grew up in very small, conservative communities.)

Now that my son is older, I plan to use my experiences to be a stronger voice on education issues regarding tolerance and improving learning outcomes for all by instilling conflict resolution principles in my educational practices. I'm not changing my view on this, but I want to continue for us to love and support each other.

Should I tell my boyfriend I understand where he's coming from based upon where and how we were raised? Do you think down the road our basic principles will drive us apart? We have been talking about buying a house in the country together, although neither of us has intentions of marriage anytime soon. -- HESITATING IN ILLINOIS

DEAR HESITATING: You should absolutely talk to your boyfriend about your plan to become an outspoken LGBTQ ally and more active in your profession. When you become more visible, do you plan to separate your career and your personal life? It appears you are willing (and able) to respect him, and understand why he feels the way he does. But is he willing to do the same for you, and will his conservative convictions negatively affect how you plan to live your life?

It is very important that this issue be resolved before investing in real estate with him -- as well as any more precious time. A professional mediator may be able to help with the conversation if you can't do this by yourselves.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Money

DEAR ABBY: My two grandchildren, 12 and 16, used to spend a lot of time with my husband and me, staying overnight, going on trips, etc. As they have gotten older, I recognize that they will naturally want to spend less time with us old folks.

My problem is, when I send them texts to invite them for lunch or out somewhere for the day, they don't respond or just respond with an IDK (I don't know). My question: Should I ask again to get an answer before the scheduled lunch or trip, or should I just forget it and assume they don't want to be involved with us? -- SAD MEMAW IN FLORIDA

DEAR SAD: You have asked an intelligent question, but you are asking the wrong person. The people you should be asking are your grandchildren, and when you do, it should be face-to-face.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Teens

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