Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I’m 22 and have been dating a 55-year-old man I’ll call “Gerald” for a year now. Because of the difference in our ages, I have been trying to find things for us to do together so our relationship can be more than just sex. I really love Gerald and want it to work, but how do I make it work when he won’t meet me halfway?

We really don’t have any reasons to fight except for his jealous ex-wife of 11 years. How do I try to keep this relationship? Everything I suggest Gerald turns down. Is it because deep down he doesn’t want to be in this relationship? Or that he doesn’t think it will go far? — CHALLENGED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR CHALLENGED: I am not a mind reader, but it appears your “silver fox” is happy with the relationship just as it is. That’s the reason he shoots down your suggestions for ways to expand it beyond the bedroom. You can’t make a relationship work all by yourself. Gerald has to be willing to participate. If his reaction to everything you suggest is opposition, it may be time to move on and find someone with whom you have more in common.
DEAR ABBY: I was invited to my nephew’s wedding out of state and accepted the invitation. It’s a four-hour drive. My son wasn’t interested in attending, and my boyfriend wasn’t sure he could attend due to work travel. The mother of the bride informed me that she had decided to “put” an elderly relative in my room with me, claiming they were now out of rooms. (She’s known to be miserly and dishonest.)
There was no offer to share costs, and it was assumed that I’d transport, dress and monitor the relative. I ended up declining the invitation, and I regret not being at my nephew’s wedding. My boyfriend was able to attend but, by then, I couldn’t make an appropriate room arrangement. Thoughts? — SKIPPED IT IN THE EAST
DEAR SKIPPED IT: Just this: Because you felt the mother of the bride should have asked your permission rather than “tell” you her plan was for you to babysit the relative, you were within your rights to refuse to do anything that made you uncomfortable.
DEAR ABBY: I am an active, retired man who has a serious problem with my slightly younger sister. She’s a loud and aggressive back-seat driver. When she rides in my car, she feels compelled to loudly tell me what lane to drive in and to freak out over how close I am to the car in front and a variety of other issues she imagines.
I am a competent and safe driver, but her loud exclamations are not only annoying, they distract me at times, which I’m afraid could lead to an accident. “Get in the left lane!” she shouts, but she doesn’t see the cars behind us that I see in my mirror.
She knows how much this bothers me but seems not to care. I have lost my temper at her for doing it. Any advice on how to get her to refrain from these outbursts while I’m driving? — ANGRY BIG BROTHER
DEAR BROTHER: Your sister may not be able to control herself, which is why she does this. Because you find the back-seat driving not only annoying but potentially dangerous, stop letting her ride with you and your problem will be solved.
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.
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,
1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106; 816-581-7500

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