DEAR ABBY: Some years ago, I responded to your Operation Dear Abby program. I thought it would be neat to have a pen pal while I was in high school. I’m happy to report that I got much more than I ever dreamed of.

I began writing to Karl, and we corresponded for more than a year before we were able to meet in person. When we did meet, we both felt an immediate attraction to each other – but as fate would have it, he was stationed overseas again and I was leaving for college. Fortunately, we reconnected and began to date exclusively.

To make a long story short, we recently celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. We are each other’s best friend and feel blessed to have three beautiful children. Thank you, Abby, for bringing us together. – KATHY K., ROANOKE, VA.

DEAR KATHY K.: Thank you for an upper of a letter. Many love stories began with Operation Dear Abby, and continue to be created through – the online version that now operates 24/7 year-round. I’m pleased that writing to a member of the armed services was not only rewarding for you, but also became the pathway to your future.

Readers, as I am sure you already know, this is a time of year when our young men and women in the military feel most poignantly their separation from their families and the people they love. While it is not within our power to make that go away, it does present an opportunity to show them we appreciate the fact that they are fulfilling their duty at the risk of their own safety. Today, and during the rest of this holiday season, won’t you please make a special effort to let them know they are in our thoughts and prayers. Go to and send a message of support. It’ll mean the world to them.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter is an attractive, well-educated, single, professional woman in her early 40s. She is gay. I have known about her sexual orientation since she was in high school and have always been supportive. We have enjoyed a good relationship.

I have been friendly to my daughter’s same gender friends in the past, until she moved into the home of a divorced woman who claims she is also gay. Abby, this woman is in her mid-40s. She has two children, ages 5 and 12, from her previous marriage to a man. There is significant financial advantage for her to have my daughter move in with her.

Between you and me, I don’t believe that she is really gay. Is it possible for a woman to become gay after many years of marriage that produced two children? Thanks for your help. – PERPLEXED MOTHER IN THE EAST

DEAR PERPLEXED: Yes, it is possible for a person to discover that she (or he) is gay after having been married and having children. Usually, the person felt a same-sex attraction much earlier, but denied it and married, hoping the feeling would go away. Many years – sometimes decades – later, the man or woman realizes that something is “missing,” meets someone, and the feelings return stronger than ever. And that’s when they finally come out.

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.

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