DEAR ABBY: I have been married to “Sam” for 20 years. He is a wonderful husband and provider. When I married Sam, we had nothing; now we have a home and rental properties.

My family seems to be jealous of the financial success we have achieved. My siblings make snide comments and have pulled away.

It came to a head the other night when my youngest sister announced to the family that I had gone online and anonymously threatened her family. Abby, I have never been anything but kind to them. They have an open invitation to visit our home and swim, and I have even bought her children clothing and shoes when she was unable to.

I don’t understand this, and I’m very hurt. Please help me to put this in perspective, because I am fully aware that money cannot buy happiness – happiness comes from family and loved ones. – WRONGLY ACCUSED IN ARKANSAS

DEAR WRONGLY ACCUSED: Your sister may be jealous, may have mental problems — or may just have a need to be the center of attention. Since you have been generous with her, it may be time to realize that loving relationships are reciprocal. If your relatives are put off by what you and your husband have accomplished, the problem is really theirs, and you can’t fix it.

P.S. If your sister did, in fact, receive a threatening e-mail, rather than accusing you, she should have informed the police.

DEAR ABBY: I am 16 and have just started my junior year in high school. Last spring, I started dating “Rick,” a guy in my class. After six weeks, he dropped me and started dating a popular girl. He never said it was over or gave me a reason for dumping me. He just stopped calling, wouldn’t talk to me and wouldn’t answer my phone calls. I was devastated.

Now that school has started again, I see Rick in the halls. I told him I still love him and would do anything to get back the way we were, and he was very rude. I know I need to move on, but I can’t get him out of my heart. Please help. – STUCK IN ST. LOUIS

DEAR STUCK: Part of your problem may be that you didn’t have “closure” when the relationship with Rick was over. For him to have dropped you the way he did was cruel. Perhaps this will help you:

I recently attended a conference where a man approached me and stuck out his hand. He said he wanted to thank me for some advice I had given him years ago. Like you, he was having difficulty moving on after a romance had ended. At the time, I told him that he should pretend that his love object had tragically dropped dead. (It happens!) I said that although the person might still be alive, their romance WAS dead, and so were any illusions he had about the person. I also advised him that if he began to obsess again, he should remind himself out loud that he was only playing “old tapes” in his head and to change the channel.

He told me that my advice hadn’t been easy to follow, but it had worked for him then and several times subsequently. (I have used the technique myself, and it worked for me.) Give it a try.

CONFIDENTIAL TO ASPIRING ACTRESS IN ACTON, CALIF.: Remember that “average” is as close to the bottom as it is to the top. There’s a show business axiom: “A person’s career usually lasts as long as the time spent preparing for it.” So don’t settle for less than your potential; always keep striving for the best.

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.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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