STRANGERS SEE THE CONVERSATION IN VERY DIFFERENT LIGHTS |

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of two years works for a company with 160 employees, 95 miles from our town. He threw a party at a restaurant near the company. I didn’t know anyone and I doubt very much that I will meet these people again.

While I was at the party, I met a young woman who, like me, was there with her boyfriend and didn’t know anyone. We chatted for half an hour about the holidays and made general conversation. When she mentioned that she had recently been diagnosed with an illness that I also had, I gave her websites to look up information on and told her not to worry. I also told him that if I could be okay and fix this, anyone could. Our conversation lasted about 15 minutes, and I didn’t ask any personal questions. When I had to leave the party, she sat by herself and started playing with her phone.

The next day, my boyfriend was angry because while leaving with his boyfriend, the woman said to him, “Your girlfriend kept pestering me about my condition and wouldn’t shut up. I was stunned and hurt. I was trying to be nice. Why did my boyfriend tell me? He didn’t say anything to defend me. Worse still, what did he accomplish by repeating what she said? He knew it would hurt me. I will never meet these people again. Am I wrong to feel hurt?

STUNNED IN THE EAST

DEAR ABANDONED: I’m still trying to figure out why someone would tell a stranger at a party about their medical condition and then take offense if the person tried to be helpful. If what you said made her uncomfortable, she should have said it to you, not your boyfriend. You are not wrong to feel hurt. However, you ARE wrong to blame your boyfriend for telling you something he thought you needed to hear. That’s what people who love each other do.

DEAR ABBY: My partner and I have been together for 11 years and have lived together for seven. He’s a real estate agent in his hometown. I had a stroke four years ago which forced me into early retirement. Real estate is a dog-eat-dog business. Paychecks are scarce, so I pay rent and all household bills. He pays his personal bills and the costs of doing business as a real estate agent. He is currently broke and does not have the money to pay his personal bills. I refuse to pay them. I think he should find a part-time job to pay his own bills, but he refuses. Of course, there will be a backlash, and he will resent me. He will lose his car, phone, real estate license, health and car insurance, etc.

I’ve already bailed it out, but I don’t want to do it anymore because I’ve run out of money that I had set aside for retirement. He already owes me thousands of dollars in several loans, which I don’t expect to get back. What do I do? I don’t want to break up or keep arguing about it.

PLAN AHEAD

DEAR PLANNING: Your “partner” refuses to look for a part-time job so that he can support himself and not depend on you? Dear madam, you may not want to separate after this time, but your partner is a luxury you can no longer afford. Stop arguing, accept it and move on.

DEAR ABBY: What’s a good tip for leaving a waiter at an all-you-can-eat buffet? They bring water and busses to the table, but we get our own food and drinks. They certainly don’t work as hard as waiters in a sit-down restaurant.

WONDER IN THE EAST

DEAR WONDERFUL: The employees you describe also “work hard”. If you eat at the restaurant, leave a few dollars for the drivers who clean the dishes. If you receive service IN ADDITION to this, leave 10%.

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 PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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