DEAR ABBY: I work for a small, family-owned business. The owner has strong political views and insists on listening to a political talk show during the afternoon, with the volume turned up quite loud.

My boss assumes that his views are everyone else’s and talks to customers as if his opinion is gospel. I have watched them roll their eyes and try to get away. I have worked here for three years, and I can’t take it anymore. My co-workers say I can’t say anything because he owns the business, and he can do whatever he wants. I have looked for another job, but this is a small town and jobs are scarce.

I think it’s inappropriate to force one’s political views on anyone, especially employees and customers. What’s your take on this? – FED UP IN NEW YORK

DEAR FED UP: I agree with you. However, all too often, zealous members of both parties are unable to resist the temptation to spout off – especially during an election year. I don’t know what business your employer is in, but if anyone else in your town performs the same service without the political arm-twisting, it could cost him some customers.

DEAR ABBY: My ex-boyfriend has cerebral palsy. I have loved him for more than a year, regardless of his condition. He broke up with me because he didn’t think he could love someone if he didn’t love himself.

We are still good friends and care for each other. He often asks me what he can do to feel better. What can I do to help him feel better about himself? – HELPING A FRIEND IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR HELPING: Offer him this advice: The surest way to start feeling better would be to stop focusing on his disability and concentrate instead on his abilities. I’m sure he possesses many unique qualities that make him special – and you can list them if you like. But until he is willing to recognize that he has those qualities, he won’t accept it.

Counseling could help him tear down the barriers he is building around himself. Independent-living centers provide help for people with disabilities, and I’m sure one in your area could put him in touch with someone who is qualified to talk to him – including a peer.

DEAR ABBY: I have had an on-again, off-again relationship with this guy, “Dustin,” for more than five years. We are now “off” again, but I can’t stop thinking about him.

I dream about Dustin quite often. It was my decision to end the relationship because I was tired of wasting my time. We get along well, but he lies and cheats. He calls and hangs up and texts me periodically, but I haven’t spoken with him in more than two months.

I love Dustin dearly, and the love I feel for him never changes. Even though I am living without him, I can’t help but wonder if he is really my soul mate. Is there really such a thing as a soul mate? – LOST IN LOVE IN RIVERDALE, ILL.

DEAR LOST: The American Heritage College Dictionary (Fourth Edition) defines “soul mate” as “one of two persons compatible with each other in disposition, point of view or sensitivity” – and, yes, there really is such a thing.

However, from your description of the way Dustin has treated you, this man is decidedly not it. Because you can’t get him out of your head, Dustin qualifies as your obsession, not your soul mate.

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 an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054- 0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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