DEAR ABBY: I am 21 and have been with my high school sweetheart, “Andy,” for six years. I can see myself with him for the rest of my life, but there’s a problem. I am very career-oriented and have big dreams for going far, but Andy is the complete opposite. He didn’t finish school and is content with a low-paying job for his “career.”

I was always raised to reach for the stars, but Andy’s parents are not educated, so he sees no reason to go back to school. I have spoken to him several times about my goals. He is supportive, but has no plans on doing anything for himself.

Abby, what should I do? Should I stay with Andy and lower my dreams or give up on him? Did I mention that he has no one to depend on but me? How do I let him go? Besides this issue, our relationship is perfect. Please help. – GOAL-ORIENTED GAL IN DALLAS

Many women are the primary wage- earners in their families. And I know of happy marriages between couples with differing levels of education.

You are responsible for your future, and Andy is responsible for his. It’s time to be honest with yourself about your feelings. To marry someone because “he has no one to depend on but you” is a poor reason. My intuition tells me you want out. Do you? If the answer is yes, the time to tell Andy is now.

DEAR ABBY: When seated at a dinner table where the food is served “family style,” which is the proper way of passing the dishes – to the left or to the right? I have yet to sit at such a dinner and have the plates come from one direction. They come at me from both sides!

I have a tendency to pass to the left. I am right-handed, and I hold the dish to my left and take my portions with my right hand. Because the plate is already to my left, I pass it to the left. I have also gone to some dinners where the plates were passed back and forth across the table.

Is there a correct way of passing food around the table? – LEFT OR RIGHT? IN NEW JERSEY

According to “Emily Post’s Etiquette” (which I’ll paraphrase), the dishes are “traditionally” passed to the right (counterclockwise) so they move in one direction. After helping him- or herself, each diner holds the dish for the next diner or hands the dish to the person to the right so that person can take a portion. If the dish is heavy, it can be placed on the table with each pass. Any dish that has a handle should be passed so the handle faces the person receiving it.

DEAR ABBY: My favorite sister-in-law is now a two-year cancer survivor. We are thrilled that she’s doing so well. But she still has her short “cancer haircut.” Abby, she has fabulous hair, but won’t let it grow out. I know this may seem trivial, but she’d look like a million bucks if she’d allow her hair to get longer. She’s such a special lady, none of the family want to tell her anything but how great she is. Should I keep my opinion to myself? – LOVING RELATIVE IN KANSAS CITY

DEAR LOVING RELATIVE: Your sister-in-law’s reasons for keeping her hair short may be practical, or they could be emotional. Please realize that advice which is unasked for is often unwelcome and keep your mouth shut. She’ll let her hair grow out when she’s ready.

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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