DEAR ABBY: My sister, “Jane,” and I are both in our mid-50s. Jane has had numerous affairs over the past several years after her third divorce, and was involved in an “intimate relationship” with a terrific man, “Will,” that lasted about three months. Jane broke up with Will several months after she decided he wasn’t what she was looking for, and she’s presently engaged to be married to a very nice man (“Sam”) and seems very happy.

I dated Will several times before he and Jane became involved. We weren’t intimate at that time, and we started seeing each other again over the last month. This time we have fallen in love.

My problem is Jane is upset that Will and I are together and says I have “betrayed” her. She is worried about having her former and current lovers present at family gatherings, and our parents are also concerned. They say it’s “just weird.” The fact that my sister was intimate with Will doesn’t bother me or Will, but it sure bothers them.

Abby, I have always been the “good girl” in the family and bowed under their pressure, but my relationship with Will is more than I could have ever imagined, and I don’t want to give up my future happiness just to make my sister and my parents more comfortable. My adult children have all met and approve of Will and our relationship, but Jane and my parents won’t budge. Any suggestions? – WANTS WILL IN WALLA WALLA, WASH.

Perhaps it’s time to stop being the “good girl,” begin acting like a woman who knows what she wants, and confront the double standard in your family. If your sister was “sophisticated” enough to have serial affairs, and your parents have been so worldly they have turned a blind eye to it, then they should all be adult enough to realize that you are entitled to your happiness, too.

Although this may make for some awkward first few family gatherings, as grown-ups, everyone should be able to get past it. But if they can’t, you are going to have to decide whether you want this man, or to be a people-pleaser for the rest of your life.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 48-year-old woman who lives with her fiance. My mother doesn’t like him because she thinks he is not taking care of me in the manner to which SHE feels I should be taken care of.

My fiance is a former felon with nine convictions. He served his time, is now off parole – free and clear – and is attending college full time. He has not found a job yet, but he does odd jobs to help around the house. This is causing a rift between my mom and me. What can I do? – CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE IN MICHIGAN

If I were you, I would make it a long engagement. Because you did not mention what your fiance has been convicted of, nine times over, it is hard to determine whether he will ever manage to get a job and do more than help you around the house.

If that is still all right with you a few years down the road, then who am I to say you should live differently? But please don’t blame your mother for wanting you to have, at the very least, an equal partner.


“May the most you wish for be the least you get.

“May the best times you’ve ever had be the worst you will ever see.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.