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Don’t count on boyfriend’s ex for appraisal

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

Dear Abby: I'm considering marrying a man who is divorced. We get along great, and I love and trust him.

Is it ever appropriate to call the ex and discuss her side of the story? Or should I ask my boyfriend what she'd say if I were to contact her? – Covering My Bases in California

Dear Covering My Bases: If you call the ex, you can count on hearing something negative about your boyfriend or they wouldn't be exes. Also, the things the ex might consider to be flaws may be the qualities you love best about him.

That you would say you love and trust your boyfriend, and in the next sentence indicate you're considering a chat with his former wife, makes me wonder how deep your level of trust is. However, if your gut tells you to do some digging, then you should listen to it – even if it results in an argument, which it probably will.

Dear Abby: I'm proud of my daughter, "Celia." She has a master's degree, a successful career and is soon to be married to a wonderful man.

Through three moves my wife and I have cared for our daughter's one-ton-plus of "stuff," which includes the big dollhouse her grandpa built, her doll collection, high school and college memorabilia, her diaries, dishes for her future home, etc. When she visited, I'd ask her to sort through the boxes and throw some things out. Didn't happen.My wife and I have downsized to a condo. The room that was supposed to be my "man cave" is half-filled with Celia's things. It is TIME!

Should I request that our daughter pay for storage, or rent a U-Haul so I can deliver a one-ton-plus "wedding gift"? – Disgruntled Dad in Washington

Dear Dad: I can think of few things that would destroy the ambiance of a man cave more than a dollhouse. With a successful career, your daughter can afford to pay for a storage unit for her memorabilia. Set a date by which it must be out of your condo, with the understanding that if it isn't, YOU will dispose of it. You should not have to deliver it to her. You have been patient long enough, and the responsibility is hers.

Dear Abby: I am a longtime practicing Pagan. Because of the media, Pagans are considered to be evil devil-worshippers instead of the nature-loving people with knowledge of home remedies we are. This makes it difficult in the dating world.

A friend of mine wants to hook me up with a friend of his. When is it appropriate to tell the gentleman that I'm a practicing Pagan? I dress like everyone else, so at first glance you wouldn't suspect my religion isn't Christian. – Lover Of Nature

Dear Lover Of Nature: Nothing compels you and a stranger to get into a discussion about religious beliefs on a first date, but you should mention it when the opportunity arises. If the man seems to be put off by it, suggest he consult patheos.com, an online library on the subject of religions, in which there is a section describing Paganism, its practices and origins. It should make for a stimulating discussion.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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