DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend and I live next to a married couple our age we have befriended. Unfortunately, the husband has been making unwanted advances toward my girlfriend. Being friendly with them both, we have kept it to ourselves so as not to hurt the wife. She’s ill and has been in and out of the hospital.
The husband is approaching my girlfriend saying he needs “stress relief” because his wife is ill. We now feel something needs to be said to the wife, but we still have to live next door to them.
We’re at a loss. What’s the best way to handle this? — Had Enough in Florida
DEAR HAD ENOUGH: The next time this man hits on your girlfriend, she should tell him bluntly that it’s not her job to “relieve his stress.” That is his responsibility. She should also tell him if it happens again she’ll tell you AND his wife what he’s up to.
As to being friendly with this couple in the future, FORGET IT. That bridge was burned the first time he stepped out of line.
Cut off the drama
DEAR ABBY: I have a colleague who’s a drama queen. Perhaps I’m a little bit guilty, too, but “Sharon” talks excessively about her personal life. There’s the boyfriend who doesn’t support her and their 2-year-old child financially or emotionally, her mom who suffers from many medical conditions, and her neighbor whose daughter was murdered some months ago. Sharon’s life seems to be a magnet for drama.
My colleagues and I have lent our ears and our shoulders to cry on. I have also tried to advise her (like you do) to no avail. I have now reached my limit. Is there a tactful way to deal with her? We work in proximity at least half the time, so total avoidance is not possible. — Inundated in Hawaii
DEAR INUNDATED: If Sharon asks you for advice, tell her you don’t have any more to offer. And if she starts dumping on you, handle it by saying kindly, but firmly, that you need to work and don’t have time to listen. If you say it often enough, Sharon will find someone else to listen. Trust me.
Words for strict dads
DEAR ABBY: Do you have any advice for fathers who don’t listen to you? Or fathers who are too protective and don’t know how to let go? — Stargirl in Michigan
DEAR STARGIRL: My advice to fathers would be to form as close a relationship with their daughters as they can while the girls are little. Teenage girls whose fathers are involved in their lives tend to engage in sexual activity at later ages.
However, whether a father is “too protective” may be a question of perspective – the father’s or the daughter’s. I have heard many adults say in retrospect how much they appreciate that their parents were strict. But I have rarely heard the contrary.