Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: Forty years ago, a neighborhood boy fathered a child with a neighborhood girl. “Billy” was 17 at the time, and “Becky” was 14 or 15. Both were friends of mine. They were not a steady couple. She liked him, but I feel he used her. I heard that she married an older gentleman who accepted the baby, “Matt,” as his own.

Ten years ago, I found Matt on Facebook. I told him I knew his mother, and he shared her contact information with me. When I called Becky, we enjoyed talking about old times, and I let her know that Billy had passed away. She informed me that her husband had also passed away.
I was surprised when she told me she never told Matt who his biological father was. He was raised believing his biological father was Becky’s husband. I have photographs of Billy, and Matt has an aunt he is unaware of. As tempted as I am to inform him who his father was, I know that is not the right thing to do.
We don’t communicate regularly, but Becky and I are friends on Facebook. I believe she’s having health issues now. Abby, If she passes away, do you think I should let Matt know who his father was, share the photographs and let him know about his aunt? I think I’d want to know. — OLD FRIEND IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR OLD FRIEND: If Becky’s health problems are life-threatening, she’s the person you should consider approaching. The question you should pose is this: Would she want her son to think he’s all alone in the world after she’s gone?
I do not think you should lay this news on Matt after his mother’s death. His parents would not be there to answer his inevitable questions, and he would likely feel hurt and angry that he wasn’t told the truth.
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DEAR ABBY: My wife is an active member of her church, whereas I am a non-believer. It is, of course, her right to practice her religion and enjoy belonging to a community of like-minded people. The difficulty stems from the many hours spent every week above and beyond the services, such as prayer sessions, Bible study groups, etc.
I have begun to resent her heavy involvement in church administration that has nothing to do with worship, and the resulting lack of spontaneity in our relationship. To plan an activity or vacation, she needs at least two months’ notice because of her never-ending, self-imposed commitments. This has increased over the years.
We have a large circle of friends, and our marriage has no other major issues. We try to find a balance, but it’s not easy. What advice do you have for us? — FAITHLESS IN FRANCE
DEAR FAITHLESS: Does your wife realize you are so upset about the imbalance in her relationship to the church and to YOU that you wrote to an advice columnist for help? By all means, tell her. The two of you are overdue for a serious discussion about the way she budgets her time, since you feel cheated. Begin that conversation now and, if necessary, involve a mediator.
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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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
(EDITORS: If you have editorial questions, please contact Clint Hooker, chooker@amuniversal.com.)
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