DEAR ABBY: My husband and I belong to a singing group. Another member of the group is a very nice widow in her 70s everyone loves. We know she's lonely, and we have tried fixing her up with good men who are also alone. Things have never worked out.
A few months ago, a man who is an excellent pianist came into our group. He's around 40 and has a girlfriend who comes with him. Our friend has fallen for him in a big way. It has changed her whole attitude and messed up our friendship because she talks only about him all the time. He has given no indication that he's interested in her in any way.
My husband thinks she may be going into dementia because of the way she's acting. We both want to bring her back to reality, but she refuses to admit she has changed. She says WE have changed and accuses us of not wanting her to be happy. Abby, we have always wanted her happiness, but we have given up on how to deal with her obsession. She's very defensive about "him" and insists he'll come around in time. How can we help her accept the truth? — WORRIED ABOUT HER
DEAR WORRIED: You can't! Quit trying to live this woman's life for her, and you will all be happier. She's an adult, even if right now she's acting like a teenager. That she's able to feel romantic feelings for someone — available or not — is a step in the right direction. She will come to understand that her piano man won't "come around" in her own time and without your help.
DEAR ABBY: I was recently watching a talk show where the topic of discussion was a couple who brought their 4-year-old to an open house. While they were there, the child broke an expensive piece of art. The parents refused to pay. The panel was split, with three saying the parents were at fault and two saying that if you invite people to your home, you shouldn't put out valuable things. What do you think?
Something similar happened to us when we invited some relatives to our home for a family get-together. One of the nephews kept taking barware and banging our crystal glasses together. His parents never said a word. It continued until the child broke two of them. The parents' response was, "You will learn to put things up if you want to keep them!" What about teaching your children to leave things alone? Or, if you don't want to monitor your kid, hire a babysitter! — STILL STEAMED
DEAR STILL: Putting aside for a moment the fact that the glasses were expensive to replace, your nephew could have seriously cut himself when he broke them. That the parents would ignore what their son was doing — putting himself in a dangerous situation — and not intervene was irresponsible. As to whose fault it was that the objects were broken, I think it lies squarely with ALL of you for not immediately putting an end to it.
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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