DEAR ABBY: My 25-year-old daughter, “Beth,” still carries around the teddy bear and baby blanket she’s had since she was a child. Out they come whenever she travels on vacation or visits relatives. She even took them with her when she went away to college. I often wondered what her boyfriends thought.

I don’t want to hurt my daughter’s feelings, Abby, but I think it represents her refusal to grow up. After seven years of college, Beth still lives with me and has only a part-time job. What is your take on this? – BEARING IT ALL IN BALTIMORE

The bear and the blanket give her a feeling of security. Counseling could help her understand why she needs those tangible symbols. If she’s not getting what she wants out of life, you would be doing Beth a favor to encourage her to get it.

DEAR ABBY: Your advice to “Willing to Trust Again in Tulsa” was right on. Several years ago, I was known for picking “loser” boyfriends. “Sam” hit me daily. “Gene” was married, unwilling to divorce his wife, from whom he had been separated for seven years, and broke, broke, broke! He begged me to loan him $70,000 to get out of debt. Fortunately, I was smarter than that, and never wasted a dime on him – just five years of my life.

After that, I decided I needed to take a break from men and “find myself.” I sought therapy and learned why I was choosing losers. Even more important, I learned how to never feel lonely, even though I lived alone. I am an attractive woman, 37 years old, who is unattached by choice. I love men, and if the right one comes along, I’m sure I’ll commit. However, for now, it’s nice to be able to take off on a trip at a moment’s notice, spend my own money on what I please, and do basically anything I want because I have no one to whom I must account.

“Willing” needs to learn to love herself first before she and “the right kind of man” can enter into a loving, healthy relationship. – HAPPILY UNATTACHED IN HOUSTON

Thank you for sharing your success story. You went from choosing losers to being a winner. For people who cannot afford therapy, taking a break, stepping back from a destructive situation and analyzing one’s mistakes can be very helpful. That’s the way people learn.

DEAR ABBY: The three-question self-test you advised readers to give themselves before spreading rumor or gossip is reminiscent of Rotary International’s Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do:

(1) Is it the truth?

(2) Is it fair to all concerned?

(3) Will it build good will and better friendships?

(4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Asking ourselves these questions before we inflict verbal venom on our brothers and sisters makes us better and more fair-minded human beings. – BRUCE FRASSINELLI, OSWEGO, N.Y.

I agree. And in this time of political divisiveness and turmoil – with mud-slinging, labeling and name calling being done both nationally and locally – Rotary’s Self-Test should be applied before anyone in the public arena opens his (or her) mouth.

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 a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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