Conversation was private: Romance jeopardized by betrayal

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DEAR ABBY: I met “Angie” on a dating site not long ago. She’s an intelligent, open-minded woman. So when one of our first conversations turned to sexual preferences, I felt at ease revealing one of my “likes” to her even though I didn’t know her well.

Today when we were talking, Angie mentioned that she had asked her girlfriend about her experiences with what I had discussed. Clearly her intent wasn’t to gossip, but nevertheless, I felt betrayed. I had discussed a personal part of myself in a private conversation, and she had divulged what I had said to someone without asking me.

Now I’m not sure I want to continue talking to her. Confidence is an essential part of any relationship beyond a casual friendship, and I don’t want her friends being privy to everything that goes on between me and her, even on a “promise not to tell anyone” basis.

On the other hand, Angie seemed concerned when she realized I was upset, and her intentions were not malicious. Should I move on? If not, how do I discuss my feelings with Angie without being confrontational? — WANTS IT PRIVATE IN TEXAS

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DEAR WANTS IT PRIVATE: Angie is not only open-minded, she is also open-mouthed when discussing intimate matters. She and her girlfriend talk about their sexual preferences and activities, or she wouldn’t have known that her friend has had the experience you discussed.

If you prefer your sex life kept private, move on because Angie isn’t likely to change. If you are so attracted to her that you’re willing to have your private life become an open book — continue confiding in her because it will happen. Let this be a lesson about opening the door to your innermost secrets so quickly in the future.

DEAR ABBY: It’s the time of year when preschool and elementary school teachers receive so many tokens of thanks we don’t know what to do with them.

Why not give a gift that will really be appreciated — and from which everyone will benefit? Let your child help pick out a book for the teacher’s classroom library. The kids know what is already there and can be involved in finding something new and exciting. It will also help them understand how important reading is to you. Most teachers can always use a new addition to their bookshelf. — READING IS FOR EVERYONE

DEAR R.I.F.E.: I love your suggestion. Reading IS for everyone, and a way to convey that message is for parents of preschool and elementary schoolchildren to read to them and with them every day.

DEAR ABBY: While going through some old greeting cards, I read the messages written by our children when they were kids. I thought I would send them back — one for each occasion — as a reminder of good things from the past.

It seems some children blame their parents, but forget all the good that happened in their lives. Seeing an old card may be a positive reminder. — RECYCLING WITH A TWIST

DEAR RECYCLING: Maybe, maybe not. If you’re having problems with your adult children, my advice would be to resolve those issues in a forthright manner. Do not attempt to “guilt” them, because it’s manipulative and could backfire.

However, if you are determined to send the cards, be sure to write something on each one about reconciliation that carries a positive message.

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.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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