DEAR ABBY: When I was in my 20s I chose a career whose long-term effects I hadn’t anticipated. I am charged with telling people they are dying and watching them die on a daily basis. While I know I am good at it, it leaves me emotionally drained.

I manage to muster up enough energy to try to be there for my kids but, frankly, I can’t seem to be there for anyone else, including my wife, co-workers and close family. My problem is, this has left me with no emotional support (my children are too young for that, although playing with them is some help) and there are tough days when I really need it. Advice? — ALONE FROM MY WORK

DEAR ALONE: You need a support group. Many people in the medical field find them to be a helpful outlet. Rather than blame yourself for your inability to ”be there” for your co-workers and family members, joining a group might help you to relieve some of the stress you are experiencing by talking about it. If you do, I’m sure you will find you are far from alone. If there isn’t a support group already there for you, please consider starting one, because airing those emotions you haven’t been able to share would be extremely helpful.

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DEAR ABBY: I’ve been dating a guy for two years. He has his late mom’s wedding rings. He always said he would use them if he ever proposed to anyone.

Well, he proposed to me last week. Last night he informed me that he had let his ex-girlfriend of 10 years wear the rings because she loved jewelry. It made me sick to my stomach, and made his proposal not mean anything to me.


I told him it would be like me giving him my ex-husband’s wedding band to wear. He doesn’t understand because he didn’t use them to propose to her, but to me that’s beside the point. They were ON HER HAND.

I told him he should have given me the option of wearing the rings or having him buy my own set. He thinks I’m just supposed to be OK with this. Am I out of line feeling the way I do? — TARNISHED IN TENNESSEE

DEAR TARNISHED: I don’t think so. To say this ”guy” lacks sensitivity would be an understatement. Are you sure you actually want to spend the rest of your life with someone so clueless?

When he allowed his former girlfriend to wear his mother’s wedding rings ”because she loved jewelry” rather than because they were planning to marry, the symbolism of bestowing them vaporized. If you do plan to go through with it, ”suggest” he buy you ones or use the stones from his mother’s rings in a different setting for a ring you will enjoy wearing rather than feeling like Secondhand Rose (third-hand, actually).

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DEAR ABBY: My son is graduating this year. To celebrate, I would like to have dinner at a restaurant with a group of friends (adults) and their children. However, I’d like them to pay for their own meals. How do I address an invitation to such a get-together? — NOT A FREE DINNER

DEAR NOT A FREE DINNER: You could put on the invitation that this will be a ”no host” celebration. Or, rather than issue a formal written invitation, simply call your friends and describe what you have in mind.

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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.

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