Dear Abby: My daughter, "Cindy," is 20. She's very attractive, with a great sense of humor. Because of those attributes alone, she could have any terrific young man she wants. However, Cindy has instead made up her mind to "wait for her man" — who will be spending the next five years in federal prison for selling drugs. They became engaged just before he went in.
Cindy went into the Navy and graduated. She is being deployed to Iraq next month. Before she leaves, she will visit her fiance in prison.
I love my daughter, but this has come between us. Our relationship isn't the same as it used to be, and I am afraid that I have lost her. I have exhausted every means to stop Cindy from continuing this relationship. Have you any suggestions I might have overlooked? —Fighting for My Daughter in Nebraska
Dear Fighting: Yes. Stop fighting. It will only drive your daughter further away. She is going into a war zone, and that kind of experience makes people grow up very quickly. When your daughter returns, she will not be the same little girl who went away — and her priorities and judgments may be very different than they are now. My advice is don't blow your cool and say something now you'll regret later. Right now, your daughter needs all the support she can get.
Dear Abby: I have been dating "Ronald" for three years. He says he loves me. Ron is still married, but swears it's only so he can keep his wife on his health insurance as he'd promised her. However, they talk every day "as friends" and have a daughter and grandchildren in common.
Ron comes here (to another state) to visit me often, but I have never met his daughter or grandchildren, and he feels no urgency to introduce us. Ron has met my entire family.
I feel that he is leading two lives and is happy in both worlds. I, on the other hand, feel rejected and that he's ashamed of me and our relationship. I feel left out, on the outside looking in. Any suggestions? —Needs Validation in Oregon
Dear Needs: You have analyzed your situation very well. You ARE on the outside looking in. Whether or not your boyfriend and his wife still dwell under the same roof, they are legally married, and he is providing for her nicely. By staying married to his wife, he has assured that if anything happens to him she will be provided for. Since you have asked for a suggestion, I suggest you take your cues from what Ronald does rather than what he says — and find yourself a boyfriend who is eligible.
Dear Abby: I recently read an article about a medical center in Maine that has redesigned its standard hospital gowns to provide extra coverage for patients. (The standard gown, open at the back, violates some people's religious customs and everyone's modesty.)
I am disturbed that modest hospital gowns have not been considered a priority before now. A patient's dignity should be protected regardless of gender or religious beliefs. Your thoughts, please. —Offended in the South
Dear Offended: I don't see it in terms of religious beliefs or gender. Extra coverage should be available upon request to anyone who feels overexposed, because many people do. That should be reason enough.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © Universal Press Syndicate