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RO-51

DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced for 26 years. I have been engaged a couple of times since, but never made it back to the altar. My ex-wife has now permanently separated from her second husband. I have helped her financially and emotionally through a couple of stressful situations in the interim due to her second husband.

I became available again myself about 18 months ago, so I have been considering inviting her to dinner to help her relax and give her someone to talk to other than family. The problem is, she still seems to regard me as "the enemy." She will speak to me, but it's just bare-bones conversation. I have never stopped loving her. Should I ask her to dinner, or just let things be? — STILL LOVIN' MY EX

some text Jeanne Phillips

DEAR STILL LOVIN': I wish you had mentioned what destroyed your marriage 26 years ago. Whatever it was, because your ex still seems to regard you as "the enemy," in spite of the fact that you have helped her financially and emotionally, I don't think what you have in mind is feasible. Sometimes it's safer to love someone from a distance, and this may be one of them.

DEAR ABBY: We live in the downstairs apartment of an old Victorian house that has been converted into three separate apartments. We try to be good neighbors and do our part keeping up with our neighborly duties. However, lately we've been finding ourselves the only ones doing our part.

Every Sunday evening, we roll out the garbage, recycling and compost bins for the Monday morning pickup. Currently, there is only one other tenant living here, a man who has been here for more than a year. Not once has he bothered to roll out these carts that he uses as well. How should we handle this without coming off as nagging or rude? — PEEVED IN PORTLAND, ORE.

DEAR PEEVED: Your neighbor isn't a mind-reader. He may think you are doing this as part of your deal with the landlord. If you haven't discussed this with your neighbor, you should. If you do, you may be able to agree on some sort of schedule.

DEAR ABBY: I graduated from law school several years ago. I didn't pass the bar, and I now have a non-law-related job. I am fine with it, and I really do not aspire to be in the field of law. My parents didn't help me with law school tuition, nor am I saddled with debt.

My problem is, some family members — and a few acquaintances — seem to think me almost a novelty. I get comments such as, "Hey, how's that degree working for you?" and "Are you ever going to use your degree?" and "Do you regret going to law school?" I find it really annoying. How can I put a stop to it? — NOT A LAWYER AND FINE

DEAR NOT A LAWYER: Tell these "curious" individuals that you do not regret going to law school because knowledge of the law is valuable when it's applied to other fields. As to how that degree is working for you, tell the questioner it's working so well you are now considering going for a degree in astrophysics.

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.)

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