DEAR ABBY: A few years ago I met a wonderful person. I spent roughly three months with him in a budding relationship. My issue is that one night he said those three little words, and I panicked and disappeared from his life. I know it was a horrible and cowardly thing to do. I just didn’t know how to handle it other than ask him why and saying, ”You can’t mean me, right?”

I have felt horrible that I vanished without any explanation and most likely hurt him. I really would like to apologize for my actions and immaturity. He didn’t deserve that type of treatment. I recently found his address and wonder if it would be all right to send an apology, or if it would be best not to open potential wounds. — DISAPPEARED IN ILLINOIS

DEAR DISAPPEARED: Because you feel an apology and an explanation are in order, I see no harm in offering them. However, before you do, think this through. Is there more to this than a guilty conscience? Because years have passed, you both may be at different places in your lives than you were then. One or both of you may be married or involved with others. So before you do this, be absolutely sure not only of your motivations, but also of your expectations.

** ** **

DEAR ABBY: I have recently had discussions with friends and family about the best way to express concern for someone who is facing major surgery. Some say they’d prefer hearing about others who have undergone similar procedures successfully. (But might that set expectations that can’t be met, since not all procedures and physical circumstances are the same?) Or is it best to keep comments general? For example: ”You will be in my thoughts/prayers/heart,” or ”I hope it goes even better than you hope it will.” What’s the most helpful way to express concern? — SENSITIVE SUBJECT

DEAR S.S.: Unless the surgery is for something life-threatening — in which case the thoughts, prayers and heart are necessary — keep the message upbeat and positive. Example: ”Is there anything I can do for you while you’re recuperating?” And if the answer is no, say, ”I’ll give you a call in a couple of days to see how you’re doing, and we’ll visit when you’re up for company.”


** ** **

DEAR ABBY: If you give a wedding shower gift, is it proper to also give a wedding gift? I have done both for many years, but recently was questioned about why I do it. I told the person that’s the way my mother raised me. Was she correct? — GIFT GIVER IN CONROE, TEXAS

DEAR GIFT GIVER: Your mother raised you right. Weddings and showers are separate events. When attending a shower, it is customary to give the honoree a gift. The same is true for a wedding. That someone has given the bride a shower gift does not mean the person is not supposed to give the couple a wedding gift.

** ** **

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.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. 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.