Man’s decisions in life are made to please others

Published 8:31 am Monday, July 17, 2023

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DEAR ABBY: I’m a 54-year-old gay man who has spent his life making decisions with everyone else in mind. Every decision, life choice, relationship and career move has been based on how I’m perceived by friends and family.
Currently, I’m living with my ex in my home. I’d like to live alone, but I feel responsible for his security. When I think about telling him I want to live separately, I feel like I’m letting him down. If I move, my family then has opinions on where I should live so I will stay in proximity to them. Also, we share dogs and I’m afraid if we split up the pack, I’m letting the dogs down.
All of this pressure results in me doing nothing. I have been drinking more to shut out the noise. I have considered giving up alcohol, but that will also disappoint many in my family because they like to drink. Please help me! – GUILTY GUY IN MICHIGAN

DEAR GUY: If ever I’ve heard from someone who is in need of counseling, it is you – so that you can get in touch with who YOU are and what YOU want. You have a right to do what makes you happy. If there’s an LGBTQ center near you, that would be the place to start. If there isn’t, get counseling wherever it’s available. If you want to quit drinking, just do it. If you are quiet about it, your family may not even notice. It may help you to think more clearly. The only thing you should NOT do is continue on the path you are on.
DEAR ABBY: My best friend of 20 years buys me, my son and my parents lots of thoughtful, wonderful gifts for holidays and birthdays. The problem is, it’s way too much. She spends hundreds of dollars on us. I’m talking about mountains of gifts each year. My parents helped her financially a few years back when she was undergoing cancer treatment, and this is how she is repaying their generosity. But we don’t need things; we just want her company.
Abby, she’s now deep in debt and selling her house to pay down what she owes. As a result, she’s moving across the country to live with her father, and I am preparing to miss her horribly. My parents and I have repeatedly asked her not to get us anything, but she keeps on shopping. I know this is her love language, but I also know she can’t afford to be doing this, and I can’t afford to reciprocate in kind. I don’t know what else to do. – GENEROUS IN THE EAST

DEAR GENEROUS: Your friend may be excessively generous because she feels indebted to your folks for their generosity when she needed it, because gift-giving is her “love language” or she may just be a spendaholic. Tell her you love her and will miss her terribly when she moves away, but what she has been doing has been making you uncomfortable because you have everything you need and can’t afford to reciprocate in kind. Then ask her again to stop, because the most important gifts she has already given you – her love and her many years of precious friendship.
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.)

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