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Column

Dear Abby: Off-and-on relationship may be off again after confession

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips.

Dear Abby,

My boyfriend, “Al,” and I have been together for 2 years off and on. We dated casually for 6 months before we decided to be exclusive. Unbeknownst to him, I was also sleeping with someone else, “Brandon.”

Al and I had a fight and broke up for a few months, and during that time I slept with another good friend of mine, “Marc.” When Marc and I decided it wasn’t serious and moved on, Al and I got back together.

I didn’t feel obligated to tell Al about it at the time, since “technically” I did nothing wrong. But as we became more and more serious, it occurred to me that it was a lie of omission, since we interact with both men on a social level. I told Al, and he isn’t handling it well, so now I’m at a loss about what to do.

Honesty and time are key, I know, but he is distancing himself from me. Do I let him go? I am fighting hard right now, but I’m feeling beaten down at every turn.

– Wrong in the East

Dear Wrong in the East,

Not all relationships last forever. It’s possible that this one has run its course.

If you and Al had agreed you would both be abstinent after the separation, he has reason to be upset. If you had promised each other there would be an accounting of who each of you had been with and you didn’t live up to it, I can see why he would be distancing. However, if an understanding wasn’t in place, then you were free to be with others and you did nothing wrong.

If Al no longer wants to be with you – for whatever reason – you have no choice but to let him go. For your sake, quit allowing yourself to be beaten down and make it as painless for yourself as possible.

Dear Abby,

Is it wrong to paint my 2½-year-old boy’s fingernails when he begs me to? I’m a stay-at-home mom and very close with my son. When I paint my nails (I paint them pink), my son sees me and insists I paint his toes and fingers “just like Mommy.”

I see it as all in fun, but my mother-in-law makes snide comments about him being a boy and that boys shouldn’t have their nails painted. My husband has also said I should stop.

I know my son will want me to paint his nails only a little while longer. It’s not harming anyone, and I’m sick of all the gender barriers. Am I wrong here?

– Pretty in Pink

Dear Pretty in Pink,

Your mother-in-law appears to think that polishing your 2-year-old’s nails will “make” him effeminate. It’s no more valid than her not doing it has “made” your husband masculine. Ignore the snide remarks because you are not going to change her.

Whether your little boy wants you to continue painting his nails pink – or, for that matter, to wear something pink – is far less important than making sure he knows you love and support him and it’s OK to be himself. That’s the way parents raise confident and successful children.

Dear Abby,

What is your opinion about elderly parents who no longer drive having to pay their children to drive them to appointments, grocery, etc.? Think of all the times parents drove them when they were growing up.

– Returning the Favor

Dear Returning the Favor,

Most adult children with a memory would never dream of asking to be paid for driving their elderly parents. A child who would do this must be desperate for money. In my opinion, because they are paying for it anyway, the parents should make other arrangements for transportation.

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

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