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DEAR ABBY: My married friend is a swinger. She says her husband’s sex drive has declined lately, but it hasn’t. He keeps trying to get me to talk “naughty” with him, but I always refuse. To me, that would be betraying my friend. He has encouraged her to get a live-in girlfriend for herself. I asked her what she thinks would happen if she did and he decided to do the same. She doesn’t believe he would, but I do.
Abby, I value our friendship. If I tell her about his late-night habits, it would hurt her. If I don’t and she finds out, it will also hurt her. He always apologizes after each attempt. Apologies mean nothing if he continues to repeat his actions. Lately, I have avoided spending time with her because of his late-night requests. What should I do? — TURNED OFF IN THE SOUTH
DEAR TURNED OFF: Tell him his advances are not welcome and to stop calling you, and that if he doesn’t, you will tell your friend. If he persists, inform your friend how long this has been going on and that you have been reluctant to tell her, but it has reached the point that it is making you not want to be around her either. After that, the ball will be in her court.
DEAR ABBY: My adult son is married with a newborn son. I recently learned that he is the victim of spousal abuse. He was keeping it a secret from us, but we found out when authorities became involved. My son loves his wife and wants to make it work. I have no idea how to navigate holidays and special occasions when we will see them. Knowing your adult son is being harmed by his wife, how would you interact with this woman? — UNEASY IN ARIZONA
DEAR UNEASY: Be glad that the fact your daughter-in-law is a spousal abuser is now on record. Before the next holidays, you and your husband should have a talk with your son about why he has tolerated the abuse and WHAT HIS OPTIONS ARE. Is she so out of control that she could hurt the baby in a fit of rage? Are they receiving counselling? Has he spoken to an attorney about this?
A support group your son would find helpful is Stop Abuse for Everyone (stopabuseforeveryone.org). Once he gets in touch, he will realize that he’s far from the only husband who has been battered. He also needs to know you are there for him regardless, so when the holidays roll around, be “cordial” — and keep your eyes open.
DEAR ABBY: I have two friends whose daughters will be married this fall, both for the second time. I have given gifts to both women for their first marriages. What is the rule of etiquette for the second time around? — WANTS TO KNOW IN MONTANA
DEAR WANTS: If you plan to attend the weddings, the rule is to give something less expensive this time around, along with your good wishes for a happy future.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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