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Dear Abby: It’s time to lay your cards on the table

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Dear Abby: I am a 28-year-old, unattractive guy who is in love with my best female friend. "Chrissy" is 25 and a single mother. I have always adored her. We met in high school in 1996.

In 2002, Chrissy ran into an old high school boyfriend who was addicted to drugs and has psychological problems. She fell back in love with him, and soon they were dating. He was insecure about her having friends, especially someone of the opposite sex, so he gave her an ultimatum — him or me. She chose him. A year later they had a baby. When Chrissy finally got it through her head that he was never going to change or give up drugs, she broke up with him.

Being the good guy — or fool — that I am, I became close with her again. Over time, I have gotten to know her son and have treated him like he was my own. I do anything and everything for them. I would like to have a real relationship with Chrissy. It makes me sad that she'd rather go out with guys who don't really care for her (she admits it herself) than see how much I love her. I want so much to be with her, but I know she doesn't see me in that light.

I don't know what to do. I don't want to say something, because if I do, she'll pull back and probably stop seeing me altogether. My friends say I should speak up or stop seeing her, but I can't. To quote a song, "I'd rather live in her world, than without her in mine."

I pray every night for God to grant me this one prayer. What can I do to make this work? —Desperately Seeking "Chrissy"

Dear Desperate: You've done enough already. Your belief that you are unattractive may be part of your problem. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Chrissy may be just plain masochistic about men. If Chrissy is unable to recognize the value of what you have to offer, it would be healthier for you to distance yourself and find a woman who's a better judge of men.

I agree with your friends that it's time to lay your cards on the table. You deserve to have a loving relationship. Love is at its best when it's mutual. When it's not, it's torture. So stop torturing yourself and allowing yourself to be taken for granted. Remember: Some of God's greatest blessings are unanswered prayers.

Dear Abby: We are a group of women who get together to play poker a couple of evenings a week. We are all well-educated and comfortably retired. Two of us have very slight regional accents.

In our group is a woman I'll call "Winifred," who is funny, accommodating and good-hearted. However, Winifred has appointed herself our English teacher without our permission. She delights in correcting us for what she considers mispronounced words. We are proud of our accents and have never asked to be corrected. We find it not only rude, but embarrassing. How can we discourage Winnie without breaking up the group? —Aces High in the East

Dear Aces High: The next time Winnie corrects you, smile and say, "We've done all right with these accents so far. It's part of what makes us unique. So please stop trying to make us sound like everyone else. We're happy as we are." If she takes offense and folds, deal her out. The alternative is tolerating more of her rudeness.

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