DEAR ABBY: I am 19 and going into my second year of college. I was sexually and emotionally abused during my first two years of high school by a boy a year older than me. I attended therapy for a while and eventually found myself in a loving relationship with my boyfriend. We've been living together for a year.
Everything was going fine until I came home for summer break. I have never gotten over the feelings I had for my abuser, but I love my boyfriend and would never want to hurt him or endanger myself again. Why should I have feelings for someone who treated me so terribly? And what should I do about them? — ABUSED AND CONFUSED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR ABUSED AND CONFUSED: I commend you for recognizing that the status quo isn't in your best interest. Old habits die hard, and you may still be physically attracted to your abuser. Now that the school year is beginning again, head straight to the student health center and talk to a counselor about this. Do not put it off, because understanding this is important for your emotional well-being now and in the future.
DEAR ABBY: We are having a housewarming party and would like to invite a married couple we know. However, the wife is notorious for having one of her female friends tag along for everything they do — movies, vacations, concerts. Everything. I don't care for the third wheel, and I don't want her at our party. What's the proper way to word the "guests only" without it sounding cold or insulting? — NO TRESPASSING IN VIRGINIA
DEAR NO TRESPASSING: After you issue the invitation, call the wife and tell her your party is for "guests only" and that you would prefer she not bring any extras. If she asks why, tell her the truth. It is a breach of etiquette to bring uninvited guests to someone else's party, so stop worrying about sounding cold or insulting because this couple appear to have hides of steel.
DEAR ABBY: I have asked my son to let me watch (via video chatting) my grandson open any gifts or cards I send. They live far away and I want to feel included. He promises to do it, but he never follows through.
My grandson is not being taught to have any regard for my feelings. What should I do? Should I drop the request and any expectation of contact? Should I stop sending gifts? It just upsets me too much. — LONELY GRANDMA IN MICHIGAN
DEAR GRANDMA: I don't blame you for feeling upset, but the person you should be upset with is your son. If you stop sending gifts to your grandson, you'll be punishing the wrong person. His parents should be teaching him the importance of acknowledging gifts because it is part of basic good manners that will benefit him in the future.
Because you want to stay in contact, after sending the boy a gift, call to ask him if he received it and how he liked it. If you do, it may help you to establish a closer relationship.