AnnLanders.com, Advice by Ann Landers - []
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Section: relationships, age, general-health
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I want to thank you for the encouragement you give your readers to mend family fences before it is too late. You printed a letter from a woman who said her brother had little contact with his father, who was dying. I, too, was estranged from my father for several years, but we reconciled our differences a couple of months before he died, thanks to you. I am so grateful I took the time to read your column the day that letter appeared. I immediately related it to my own situation and helped care for my father at the end of his life. I also told him how much I loved him for the first time, and it made a world of difference. I have been estranged from my mother for many years, as well, and recently learned that my stepfather is terminally ill and has only a few months to live. It made me realize the torment she must be going through. I decided to call my mom and tell her how much I love her before it is too late. Thank you, Ann, for those wonderful words of wisdom. Your advice helped me have no regrets when I lost my dad, and now, I am going to make sure I have no regrets with my mom, either. -- R.L.

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Section: relationships, children
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
My ex-husband and I divorced 18 years ago. He told me he no longer loved me and that family life was not for him. He agreed to counseling, but of course, it was a waste of time. The counselor later told me it was obvious that I wanted counseling to save the marriage, but my ex agreed to it only to appease me and intended on getting a divorce once the charade was over. We had been married 14 years and had two children, ages 7 and 5. It was not easy for me. My ex remarried six months after the divorce was final. I married again 10 years later. My 23-year-old daughter recently asked her father why we were divorced. He replied, "Because your mother was having an affair." I am furious with him for telling such a lie. Fortunately, my daughter did not believe him, but it's possible he has repeated that same lie to everyone he knows. I get angry every time I think about it, but don't know if I should confront him. Please, Ann, tell me what to do. -- Innocent in Stamford, Conn.

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Section: children, relationships, sexuality, dating
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
Last New Year's Eve, my 15-year-old daughter had a party for her friends, under my supervision, of course. At midnight, while I was busy passing out soft drinks and food, I turned around to see "John," my 40-year-old boyfriend, kissing one of my daughter's 16-year-old friends. This was no ordinary peck on the cheek. The kiss was on the lips, and John's hands were planted firmly on her behind. The girl's arms were wrapped around his neck. When I confronted Mr. Hot Stuff later that night, he said he'd had too much to drink and didn't know what he was doing. John has apologized at least five times, but I can't seem to get that steamy scene out of my mind. He is a caring, wonderful man with a heart of gold, and we get along very well. As far as I know, he has been 100 percent faithful. Until this happened, I was sure he was Mr. Right. Should I forgive him for this one lapse, or is it a red flag that signifies a major character flaw? I need your advice. -- Unsure in Columbia, Ohio

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Section: manners, children, money
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I am a new bride. My husband's family treats "Eddie," my husband, very unfairly. They are also cold to my 2-year-old son and me. I know they are not cold people because they are very affectionate toward Eddie's sisters and brothers and their children. Eddie has had employment difficulties since we married and relocated. In the 18 months we have been together, my family has helped us out financially. They are not rich, just comfortable. Eddie's family is also comfortable, but they refuse to help us and say they can't afford it. Not true. They live a lavish lifestyle and have a substantial income. I believe Eddie should learn how to demand equal treatment. He needs to ask for his share. He plans to adopt my son as soon as the boy is a little older. In the meantime, my son is being treated like a second-class citizen in comparison to the other grandchildren. If they buy a new outfit for their other 2-year-old grandson, they should buy one for our son also. Right? A psychologist told us this situation can change if we are willing to work at it. I believe we should start writing letters to my in-laws telling them exactly how we feel. Eddie says it doesn't matter to him, but I know it hurts him plenty. What should we do about this? -- Feeling Left Out in Florida

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Section: sexuality, children, relationships
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I am a 15-year-old sophomore girl. I make decent grades and am a normal teenager in every way. At the beginning of the school year, I hit it off with a girl who had just moved to our town over the summer. "Lottie" and I have the same taste in music and movies, and we like to hang out at the mall after school. We've become great friends in just a few months, and last weekend, Lottie invited me to sleep over at her house. Everything was great until it came time for bed. Lottie's bedroom has a double bed, which we were supposed to share. That would have been OK, except she stripped completely naked before she got into bed. Ann, I have no objection to sleeping in the nude, but this was in the winter, and it was plenty cold outside. I asked Lottie whether she wouldn't be warmer in pajamas. She replied that she was more comfortable sleeping nude and her electric blanket would keep her toasty warm. I reluctantly got into bed but kept wondering whether Lottie was trying to seduce me. Her electric blanket was turned on so high that I was tempted to take off my flannel nightshirt. I decided not to, thinking maybe that was what she wanted me to do. Lottie made no other moves on me, but I barely slept all night. What should I do? I don't want to accuse her of being a lesbian, but I can't stop wondering whether she is interested in me sexually. Lottie is the best friend I ever had, and I would hate to lose her over this. Please tell me what to do. -- Befuddled in Northern California

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Section: general-health, manners
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I have a relative who has diabetes and must take insulin shots after every meal. He makes quite a production of it, testing his blood sugar level, preparing the injection and injecting himself at the table. This procedure is done in the homes of family members and friends and in restaurants. I can handle it, but several others cannot. The sight of blood and injections ruins the enjoyment of the meals for those with queasy stomachs. This person is extremely sensitive, and his feelings would be crushed if he knew he was offending people. Your response in the paper would help make others who are afflicted with diabetes aware of how this sort of thing affects some of us. No name or city, please. -- Mrs. Anonymous

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Section: manners
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
My husband and I have been married for 30 years. He is Italian, and I am Canadian. I speak only English. Whenever we are with my mother-in-law, she and my husband speak nothing but Italian. My husband doesn't see anything wrong with this, even though I am left totally out of the conversation. He says the language is part of his heritage and it makes his mother happy. I would be more understanding if my mother-in-law could not speak English, but she speaks it very well. When our children were growing up, I never made an issue of it because I wanted the children to feel close to their grandparents, but now, it is bothering me to no end. I feel completely excluded and avoid being with just the two of them. I say they are terribly rude. What do you say? -- Excluded and Offended

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Section: sexuality, work
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I am a male escort while I am working on my master's degree at a university in Washington, D.C. I take out women (usually my mother's age) and am paid well. There is no sex involved. These women simply need a decent-looking, well-dressed guy to take them to various social events at which they would feel ill at ease if not accompanied. Very few friends know about my "moonlighting," which is the way I want it. I have met some interesting, intelligent women in my work, most of them widowed or divorced. Three of these women would like to marry me. Marriage is out of the question. I am gay. Should I tell them? It would be easier than trying to make up reasons for my lack of interest. Yes or no, Ann? -- Mr. X in D.C.

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Section: general-health, manners
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
My wife has cancer. We have been battling it for six years, and short of a major miracle, she will die from it. I am not asking for sympathy. We are living our lives as fully as we can, and we are not shy about discussing all aspects of this battle when it comes to our children, friends and family. Here is my problem: I find it painful when friends say to her, "Get well soon." It hurts to hear these words. They sound so phony, as if she had a broken leg. My wife will NOT get well, soon or ever, for that matter, and everybody knows it, including her. I haven't said anything about this because I know these people mean well, but it makes me want to scream every time I hear it. These friends are important to us, and I don't want to offend them by telling them to stop saying that, so I'm hoping if you print my letter, it will help. - Granada Hills, Calif.

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Section: mental-health, relationships, manners
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
For 10 years, I was a stand-up comic and moderately successful. After a show, I liked to chat, but some people didn't understand the show was over, or they had a joke to tell me. If I never again hear, "Three guys are in a bar," I will die happy. I often ran for the exit the second my act was over. I hated doing that, because many people just wanted to say they enjoyed the show. I know people are just trying to be friendly, but comics don't have the luxury of saying, "I've finished my gig," or they would appear rude and arrogant. Life on the road is very lonely, but after accepting after-show dinner invitations a few times, I realized people didn't want to have dinner with me; they just wanted more entertainment. So, folks, we love to talk with you after the show because you are often the catalysts for spectacular stories, but please leave the jokes at home. -- Stop Me If You've Heard This One in Rochester, N.Y.

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"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful."
-Ann Landers