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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a faithful male reader of your column. I lost my beautiful wife of 40 years last year.

During our marriage, I had prostate cancer and decided to have the surgery to remove it. I was told by my doctor that there was a chance I would never again be intimate with my wife, and she was OK with it. Now that she's gone, I have grown close to her childhood best friend. I don't know whether a relationship is in the making, but I'm afraid once she finds out I'm unable to perform, the relationship will die.

I have tried every pill on the market, pump, etc. Is it possible to have a good relationship with someone without intercourse? Or do you think I'm doomed? -- GOING FORWARD IN VIRGINIA

DEAR GOING: I do not think you are "doomed." If you are under the impression that all women your age (and younger) would reject you because you can no longer have sexual intercourse, allow me to reassure you. Many women would value warmth, affection, compatible ethics and morals and an intellectual equal to share their life with. So be honest, and you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that not only are you eligible, but that you are also in demand.

Read more in: Death | Love & Dating | Sex | Health & Safety

Popularity Changes Girls' Friendship

DEAR ABBY: I have a friend who is really popular. We have been best friends since third grade, but when we started ninth grade, she really changed. She started hanging out with the "cool" kids and acting weird. She told me that because I was her friend, I had the automatic right to hang out with them.

I don't like to hang out with large groups of people because I'm afraid of big groups, but I still want to be friends with her. When I told her I'd think about it, she suddenly turned cold. I'm confused. I don't know what I should do. She was there for me since third grade, and I was there for her, and now she seems to be fading really fast -- six years of friendship just forgotten. Please give me some advice. -- FRIEND DRAMA IN MICHIGAN

DEAR FRIEND DRAMA: Sometimes when a person says "I'll think about it," it comes across as a negative reply. Your friend's feelings may have been hurt because she interpreted it as a rejection. It would have been better if you had explained that you are uncomfortable in large groups and would prefer to see her one-on-one if she was willing. It may not be too late to get that message across to her. If the price of her company is that you will have to learn to be more social, you will then have to decide which is more important.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Teens

DEAR ABBY: I have a co-worker who just built a house. When I asked her what she would like for a housewarming gift, she told me a nice wine carafe with a stopper. So that's exactly what I got her.

I recently found out she had a housewarming party, and I wasn't invited. I had asked her when it was going to be, and she didn't mention a word about it. Am I still obligated to give her the gift I got for her? Or should I write her off and give it to someone else? -- EXCLUDED IN CORPUS CHRISTI

DEAR EXCLUDED: Ouch! Write her off and regift it.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics | Holidays & Celebrations

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