Dear Abby: I'm a 23-year-old woman in a fantastic relationship with a man two years older. I could fill volumes with all the things I love about him. My problem is I make more money than he does. He earns a good living and is a hard worker, but he constantly says things like, "You're going to leave me for someone who makes more money than I do," or, "Your parents don't think I'm good enough for you because I didn't go to college."
Abby, my parents don't care about that. They adore him because they see how happy he makes me. I don't care that I earn more. The way I look at it, eventually when we're married, our finances will be combined.
I have tried telling him this and convincing him that I love him for all his qualities, but he doesn't believe me. Is there anything else I can do? – Head Over Heels in Portland, Ore.
Dear Head Over Heels: The problem isn't that you make more money than your boyfriend does; it's that he doesn't have enough self-confidence to believe that someone could love him just for himself. Some men feel that in order for them to affirm their masculinity, they have to bring in the bigger paycheck.
You might point out that when he says those things, it hurts your feelings because it implies that all you care about is money, you have poor values and are for sale to the highest bidder. But until HE is able to recognize all that he has to offer, there's nothing more you can do.
Dear Abby: My wife and I are starting to hate our older daughter. After dropping out of college, she moved home to "save some money." Since then, she has lived as she pleases. She isn't saving money and is contributing nothing toward her support.
We have given her a deadline to move out and will hold to it. But her slovenly ways, sullen attitude and disregard for rules have created such a toxic atmosphere we're afraid our relationship is forever changed. Abby, this is not the daughter we raised!
What do we do? – Sad Dad Out West
Dear Sad Dad: Your letter raises more questions than I can answer. Why did your daughter drop out of college? Does she have a job? Where is her money going if she's not saving it or contributing to the household? Does she have a drug problem? Emotional problems?
If this isn't the girl you raised, there has to be a reason for it. Rather than hating her for her behavior, what you should be doing is finding out what's causing it.
Dear Abby: I was invited with four close friends to a "goodbye" tea at the request of a dying friend. Her four children were hostesses and had issued the phone call invitation the day before.
My friend is still alive. Is it necessary and proper to write a thank-you, and to whom? – Bewildered in Phoenix
Dear Bewildered: Write a short thank-you note to the person who called you. If your friend is still well enough to understand it, write another one to her, expressing that you appreciated being able to spend the time with her and that you were honored to have been invited. That's what I'd do.
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.