Q: I have been in a serious relationship with my boyfriend for two years. He shared with me that he was sexually abused by a cousin for years as a child. He told me he has never disclosed it to anyone but me.
My boyfriend says he has come to terms with the abuse and his abuser, but I’m not sure it’s true. He became really upset when he spoke about it the one time, and we haven’t discussed it since.
I’m afraid to pry, but I think he may need help. His abuser is still present in his life. I’m not sure what’s stopping him from seeking help. What do you think I should do? — Only Trying to Help in Ohio
A: Your boyfriend may not have discussed what happened because of fear or embarrassment, or because his abuser made him feel it was his fault. When someone is abused for years, that person is the victim of a predator.
Talk to him again about this. I agree that he should consult a mental health professional. Not only would it help him, but because therapists are “mandated reporters,” it would also ensure that this cousin doesn’t sexually abuse other children.
Q: I had an affair years ago, and I recently confessed to my spouse that our child isn’t his. Things are really bad now between the two of us, and I don’t think we are going to make it. My question is, do I tell my child the truth? — Imperfect Mom in California
A: At some point your child will need to know his or her entire medical history. He or she may also wish to meet the biological father. If your child is young, the news can wait. But if he or she is nearing adulthood, that information could be important in case there are diseases that run in the father’s family: diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s among them.
Q: We often go out to dinner with another couple and have done so for several years. It has become increasingly embarrassing because of the demands they place on the servers.
They always want more butter (and often demand it before the rolls or bread are served), they want more sauce, more gravy, more cheese, more dressing, then more bread, syrup — basically more of everything. Then they feel compelled to let the server know what was wrong with the meal after we are finished.
How can my wife and I bow out of dinner dates with them without canceling all other social activities we do together? — Desperate at Dinner
A: I can see how eating with a couple like that could give someone indigestion. You don’t have to cut them off completely, just be less and less available for those dinners.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.