SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

January 12, 2013

Dear Abby: Newly chaste teen feels guilty deceiving innocent boy

(Continued)

Dear Abby: I’m wondering if you can help me. I have been friendly with couples, and when an argument arises I have been caught in the middle. Sometimes I have felt forced to take sides. Then what happened was, they wound up mending fences and repeating to the other what I said during their split. It has put me in an awkward position when we’re together. How should I handle this in the future?

Torn in Dallas

Dear Torn: In the future, when your friends have a spat with a spouse or significant other and start to dump on you, politely decline to listen. Say, “If you have a complaint about ( ), you should work it out with him/her because I’m not comfortable hearing this.” Either that, or do a lot of listening and comment, “Oh, that must be painful.” Period. That way you’re saying nothing you won’t later regret.

The exception would be if you were told about an abusive relationship, in which case you should recommend a domestic-violence hotline.

Dear Abby: My husband of 30 years is easily startled. If I enter a room without a warning, he reacts as though he is in danger. He yells, “Don’t do that, or you’ll give me a heart attack!”

Since our retirements, this has become an issue. I don’t understand his reaction — he wasn’t in the military, didn’t have a dangerous job and hasn’t been in a disaster. I feel like an intruder in my own home. He doesn’t think he has a problem. Your thoughts?

Wife of a Jumpy Hubby

Dear Wife: Has your husband always been this way, or is this new behavior? If it’s new behavior, it should be discussed with his doctor. He may suffer from a hearing loss or some other problem. And because he finds being “surprised” upsetting, try to accommodate him and not take it personally.

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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