DEAR ABBY: I am a 49-year-old woman whose mother tries to make me feel guilty for having a good relationship with my father. I have an excellent relationship with her, but lately it feels strained because she gets mad if Dad and I do things together or even just talk on the phone. My goal is not to hurt her, but I refuse not to have a relationship with my dad just to appease her. Have you ever heard of a mother being jealous of her daughter's relationship with her father? — CONFLICTED IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR CONFLICTED: Yes, I have. But you say you have an excellent relationship with your mother, and this behavior is recent. Do you call and interact individually with her the way you do with your father? If not, it might help to give her more attention than you have.
Is her relationship with your father the same as it always has been? If it isn't, because you and your father have extended, private phone conversations on a regular basis, she may fear you have supplanted her in his affections. However, if this isn't the case, and she demonstrates other personality changes, her physician should be notified so she can be evaluated.
DEAR ABBY: I have been trying to deal with this on my own for a long time. I have been "crushing" on a man of my faith for a couple of years, and it never seems to subside. We are both married to others, seemingly happily. I like his wife very much, and I would never want to hurt her.
I think he is a wonderful human being, and he has said as much to me. We would never entertain the idea of an affair. From my standpoint, I don't know what to do. Do you have any suggestions? I try to give my own husband lots of love. — TORN BETWEEN TWO IN MONTANA
DEAR TORN: Do nothing about this crush. Continue giving your husband lots of love, attention and appreciation. Crushes are normal. Sometimes they serve as reminders that we are still alive. As long as they remain "unfertilized romances," they harm no one. You have a mutual admiration society because you both deserve it and have nothing to feel guilty about.
DEAR ABBY: Is there any way to stop charities from sending all of this "free stuff"? When I donate to charity, I intend for my contribution to be used to help someone in need. Instead, I am subjected to all kinds of things in my mailbox. I have received money, postage stamps, greeting cards, notepads and enough mailing labels to far outlast me!
I have now decided that any charity that sends me merchandise or any other "freebie" will be taken off my donation list. I hate to write bona fide charities off my list, but it has become ridiculous. — WASTEFUL IN WASHINGTON
DEAR WASTEFUL: You are not the only person to complain about this. I receive many letters from equally frustrated readers about it.
Before donating to any charity, go online and check out charitynavigator.org. If you do, it will give you insight into where your money goes — including how much of their revenue is spent on salaries and "overhead." Just because you receive notepads, mailing labels and calendars does NOT mean you are obligated to send money. Please remember that.
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.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)