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Posted on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Couple's attempt at dating is falling short of the mark

By Dear Abby


I have been divorced for two years and am friendly with a man, "Byron," whose friendship I value. A few weeks ago we decided to explore a dating relationship. Unfortunately, the past couple of weeks have been busy for me. We haven't been able to spend as much time together as either of us would like.

Last night Byron texted me, saying he "knew where this was going" and thought we should "talk about it." He subsequently said he thinks I wasn't being honest about wanting to spend time together.

When I reassured him, he explained that he has abandonment issues. Now I feel I must be careful not to do anything that might cause him to panic.

Should I back off now and try to salvage the friendship, or should I give the romance a chance? His paranoid actions so early into this stage of our relationship have made me uncomfortable. It's as if he's asking for a guarantee already. -- UNEASY IN SOUTH DAKOTA


I don't blame you for having second thoughts. Byron appears to be someone who also has trust issues, and that he would tell you he thinks you haven't been honest with him is cause for concern. You have been friendly for some time; therefore, he should have assessed your character before this. Back off, because the only person who can resolve his insecurities is Byron. Your instincts are correct.


My mother-in-law recently moved into our home to escape a bad relationship. While I'm happy to have her, increasingly I want to send her packing.

She constantly "baby talks," whether in the house or, God forbid, out in public. It drives me nuts. I sometimes wonder if she needs a knock upside the head for a "reboot."

My wife agrees it's annoying and needs to stop. But how do you tell a well-educated, mature adult that she sounds like an idiot and it's embarrassing to be with her in public? Sometimes her mannerisms even resemble those of a toddler. -- GOO-GOO-GOING CRAZY IN CONNECTICUT


Has your mother-in-law always been like this? If the answer is yes, then she thinks her behavior is "cute" because she has gotten away with it for so many years and now does it unconsciously. If the answer is no, then perhaps it's time to have her evaluated.


You often suggest volunteer work as a way of combating loneliness or boredom. Research has shown that volunteering has health benefits as well as social benefits. In addition to the pride, satisfaction and accomplishment for the individuals involved, volunteer work also strengthens communities. That's why I hope you will support Project Linus by telling your readers about its national Make a Blanket Day on Saturday, Feb. 18.

On that day volunteers across the country will be making quilts, blankets and afghans that will be donated to children ages 0-18 who are experiencing stressful situations such as hospitalizations, natural disasters, foster care and homelessness.

No sewing skills are required. Volunteers can help if they can thread a needle, cut with scissors and tie a knot. Thank you, Abby, for sharing the information about this worthwhile project with your many readers. -- KAREN IN SNOHOMISH, WASH.


I'm pleased to help spread the word. Dear Abby readers are the kindest, most generous people in the world. Those who are interested in obtaining more information, or locating a local chapter that will be sponsoring a work party on Feb. 18, should visit

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.