DEAR ABBY: I have been with my boyfriend for 11 years. In all this time he has never once asked me if I'm OK whenever I have gotten hurt. I got used to it, you might say. Well, I recently lost the ability to walk, and ended up in a nursing home for rehabilitation. My boyfriend would come to visit, but would never ask about progress. Furthermore, when I would show him my progress he wouldn't act happy.
Now I'm home, and he treats me like garbage. I don't know why. When I brought it up, he said he doesn't know why. Should I end this relationship so I can find someone who's supportive and who will help me get back to 100%? Or should I stay and work on this relationship? I'm less and less happy every day. -- HURTING IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR HURTING: Your boyfriend of 11 years is not a nurturer. That he doesn't ask if you are hurt or injured shows he lacks empathy. If I had to hazard a guess, I would opine that he treats you like garbage now because he's mad at you for needing his help and support. No amount of working on this will fix what's missing in his character. Unless you want to be treated like this for the rest of your life, get rid of him.
DEAR ABBY: I have a co-worker I share an office with. We are cordial, but not friends. The problem is she chews gum most of the day with her mouth open, and occasionally pops it. The noises she makes are extremely disturbing and they disgust me. I have taken to wearing headphones and listening to music as often as possible to tune out her noises, but it feels a bit rude and isn't practical for all day. I'm on the verge of snapping at her. Is there a kind way I can alert her of the problem without disrupting our working relationship? -- ABOUT TO POP OFF
DEAR POP: Have a congenial chat with this co-worker and ask her to let you know when she's going to pop in a piece of gum so you can pop on your headphones. It beats popping your cork in frustration.
DEAR ABBY: I'm friends with a man in his late 70s, 20 years my senior. I'm concerned about his mobility. He's an independent spirit who lives alone. Lately, I have noticed his strength and balance are diminished, and I know falls are serious for seniors. I have shared my worries with him, but he's proud and won't change his habits. Can you recommend a way I can talk to him constructively about my concerns? -- YOUNGER GUY IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR YOUNGER GUY: You have already tried discussing this with your friend. You might be able to get through to him if you tell him you have noticed his balance issues, and that there is help for them if he tells his doctor what's been happening. A physical therapist may be able to help him remedy his problem, but only if he asks.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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