Love lost 30 years ago still haunts happily married man

DEAR ABBY: I still feel immensely hurt because of a failed relationship from almost 30 years ago. My high school sweetheart of almost four years broke off our engagement when we were in our early 20s. Our lives were going in different directions &

I was going to college and she was partying.

Over the years I never really got over the hurt, even though I have been married for 20 years and have a loving family. I finished college and have a great career.

Recently the wound was reopened when she reconnected through our high school Web site. She told me about her life, which has had its ups and downs. She now lives five states away. She's happily married but "just wanted to see what I'm doing and how my life ended up." I never returned the e-mail as it hurts too much.

How do I get over this, or doesn't the pain ever truly go away?


DEAR ACHING: First, thank your higher power that you have a successful career, a happy marriage and a loving family. Your pain will dissipate when you stop nursing your old hurts and count your blessings.

Quit dwelling on a disappointment from 30 years ago and begin living in the moment. Brooding is wasted effort. It only diminishes the present, and you have already wasted enough time looking over your shoulder.

If my commonsense cure doesn't do the trick, ask your doctor for a referral to a licensed psychotherapist for counseling because it appears you're mesmerized by the ghost of Christmas past.

DEAR ABBY: In April, my husband and I lost our daughter, Sophia, to complications from several birth defects. We received support from everyone we know, including some nice gifts, money for expenses, as well as cards and meals.

We have so many people to thank. We truly appreciate everything we have received, and when I see people in person I thank them. But I can't seem to bring myself to write thank-you cards.

Would someone expect a thank-you card for a gift to a parent who has just lost a child? I'm dreading the idea of going through the process of writing them. It brings back so many difficult memories. Does that make me ungrateful? I don't want to seem ungrateful, but the stress of having to write the thank-you cards is making me sick.


DEAR GRIEVING MOTHER: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your baby girl. Please know that under the circumstances, all of your feelings are normal. However, the caring and generosity of those who reached out to you should be acknowledged.

Because you can't bring yourself to do this task yourself, enlist the help of close friends and family to help. The message doesn't have to be long and fancy. Keep it simple: "Thank you for reaching out to our family during this difficult time. Your kindness and generosity are much appreciated," should suffice. You should sign the cards. This will get the job done and free you from any sense of guilt or obligation you have for not having tackled the task sooner.

DEAR ABBY: We're having a problem with my little sister, "Madison." She's 6 &

almost 7. Mom told me that Madison talked to her dad and told him that my grandfather touched her. Two weeks after Madison told him, he finally told my mom. Mom talked to Madison about it, but she denied saying it.

Mom asked me if I would talk to my little sister and see what her response was. When I asked her if Grandpa had touched her, she put her head down and quietly said, "No." She does that when she's lying.

I waited an hour or so and asked about it again. She still said no, so I asked if she would like me to talk to Grandpa for her. She said yes. Then I asked, "So he did touch you?" She quickly said no and changed the subject.

Mom and I don't want to cause trouble with my grandparents, and we don't have enough proof that he did touch her. Please help. We're in desperate need of it.


DEAR PROTECTIVE SISTER: Sometimes people who molest little children lead them to believe that it was their fault, or tell them that if they tell their mother, the molester will harm the mother. It is time to involve a trained, nonthreatening professional in this discussion.

I recommend that your mother ask Madison's pediatrician for a referral to a child psychologist who specializes in abuse. Through discussion, art projects and "play" sessions, he or she can evaluate the situation and determine what did or did not happen.

In the meantime, Madison should not be alone with her grandfather unless she is closely supervised.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 24-year-old recent college graduate. I have a great job and live in a country club community. My problem is, my boyfriend and I eloped, and I have yet to tell my ultra-traditional parents. They have never met him, as they live up north and I am in Florida.

Do you have any advice on how to tell them that I am married? &


DEAR SERIOUSLY SCARED: The longer you hold off telling your parents, the more angry and disappointed they will be. I suggest that as soon as you and your husband can possibly manage it, you pay your parents a visit so you can tell them the good news. Put it this way: "Mom, Dad, I have a once-in-a-lifetime gift for you. Meet your son-in-law! I know you'll grow to love him as much as I do." Then duck.

DEAR ABBY: My fiance's parents told us they would help us pay for our wedding and sent him a check.

I am the one designated to plan this affair, but my fiance refuses to give me access to the money and says his parents gave the money to "him" for our wedding. He would rather I make the purchases and then ask him for a reimbursement. The check was made out to him. Should I feel any right to have access to the money?


DEAR CONFUSED OR CONTROLLED: Be thankful this issue came up when it did. In the future, will any money your fiance's parents give you (both) also be controlled by him? You should definitely have access to the money without having to go hat in hand to him.

Many marriages have ended over issues of money and control, and my advice to you, before you get any closer to the altar, is to sign up for premarital counseling with your fiance to be absolutely sure you're on the same page before marrying him.

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

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