DEAR ABBY: I am a retired widower. After my wife died, my first cousin ”Julia” invited me to visit her in Florida over the winter. She’s seven years my junior, divorced, lives alone and is a successful Realtor. We had a good time during the two months I was there.

The next summer I invited Julia to my home. We had a great time together, but then she had to return to Florida for business. I visited her last winter and one evening while relaxing and watching a movie, we became intimate. It seemed so natural. After that, I moved from the guest room into hers.

Julia is now contemplating retirement. We are planning for me to sell my home and move in with her. We are not thinking about marriage or co-mingling our funds and assets. Our legal documents are in order.

Abby, what would you suggest we say to our children, other relatives or anyone else who inquires about our relationship? We have enjoyed each other’s company so much. We just want to grow older together. — KISSING COUSIN

DEAR COUSIN: No announcements are necessary. If you are asked, just smile and say you are both happy, healthy and enjoying each other’s company. Eventually, they’ll get the picture.

DEAR ABBY: I found my birth parents 18 years ago. I always knew I had an older sister. The parents who adopted me are both gone now. They were great parents.


Now that I have reconnected with my birth mom and siblings, I have a large family — two sisters and two brothers. I have a great relationship with my baby sister; it’s like we’re twins. The problem is, the older sister demands to be the center of attention all the time.

I have tried to understand her, but every time we get together we end up mad at each other. It’s like she thinks I’m trying to take her place in the family, which I’m not.

I enjoy spending time with my baby sister, but we can’t spend much time together because she lives in another state and it’s hard for either of us to travel. When I do get to go there, the older one makes it so unpleasant that I don’t even want to go. How can I get over this or care less about her crap? Thanks! — MIDDLE SISTER IN THE WEST

DEAR MIDDLE SISTER: You might care less about your older sister’s ”attitude” if you understand she behaves that way because she may be feeling threatened. By being nasty she’s trying to protect her turf. That you and the younger one have bonded ”like twins” makes her feel excluded. Try to resent her less, sympathize more, and make her feel included. However, if that doesn’t work, see less of her so she can’t ruin the visit.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact 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 your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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