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Jeanne Phillips

Strings attached to son’s gift upsets mom

DEAR ABBY: My son bought me a car in 2012. I had no idea he was doing it. He traded my car in for this newer car.
During the last five years this “gift” has been nothing but a sore spot. If I get a ding from a parking lot, it’s my fault. If I let someone smoke in it, I’m unappreciative. It’s always, “I do something to help you, and you’re so ungrateful.” I’m at the point of giving it back and riding a bus.
What’s the solution?

DEAR AUTO-CHALLENGED: The solution is to stand up for yourself. Your son appears to be using his “generosity” to badger you.
If you haven’t told him how his comments have made you feel, you should. Point out that you can’t control what happens to the vehicle when you’re not in it. And once a gift is given, it’s the recipient’s to do with as she wishes. If a friend lighting up in YOUR car doesn’t bother you, you shouldn’t have to apologize for it.
As a last resort, consider trading the car in for one he has nothing to do with.

DEAR ABBY: After 31 years of marriage, I divorced my husband last year. I was very unhappily married, and am glad to be moving forward in life. Our children suffered as well because of our marriage, and are only now beginning to make healthy choices.
My problem is that people I knew ages ago have found me on social media and want to reconnect. I’m not ready for that. I don’t want to discuss what’s been happening for the last 32 years. I don’t want to wave them off, but neither do I want to talk about my life. It would make them uncomfortable.
I’m building a new life now, but it’s still under construction. How do I respond to these well-meaning old friends?

DEAR NOT READY: You do not have to reveal anything to these old acquaintances that you don’t wish to. If they ask questions you feel are too personal or painful, all you have to say is you would rather not discuss it. Then change the subject.

DEAR ABBY: My husband tosses and turns, snores, talks and sings in his sleep. In short, I cannot get my sleep when we’re in the same bed. He insists that I sleep with him because “if I don’t, it would create a rift in our marriage.” When I tell him I love him but I need to get my sleep, he says that love is only a word for me if I don’t act upon it by sleeping next to him. It has gotten so bad I am thinking of leaving him. Advice?

DEAR ONLY A WORD: Rather than leave, schedule an appointment for both of you with your family physician. Because your “musical” husband is tone-deaf when he hears you need a solid night’s sleep, let the doctor impress upon him how important sleep is for good mental and physical health. Many happily married couples sleep in separate beds — and sometimes even separate rooms — and have great relations both in and out of bed. When there are sleep problems, sleeping apart isn’t a matter of rejection; it’s common sense.
To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 to: Dear Abby — Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.


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