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Sisters freeze out sibling’s new boyfriend

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Dear Abby: I dearly love my youngest daughter. She’s the only one of my four daughters who has never married. For several months, she has been living with a man who is divorced and the father of two sons.

He’s a caring father. The problem is his status as a felon, for possession of drugs and fleeing the police. He served his time — about a year — and received commendations during that time. Her sisters refuse to come to my home if he’s present and won’t invite him for holidays.

My birthday is approaching, and I want her here with her sisters, but she will not come without him. I believe everyone deserves a second chance. How long should it take for her sisters and their husbands to accept him? — Accepting in New Jersey

Dear Accepting: If your daughter’s boyfriend lives a clean lifestyle, has found employment and is trying to turn his life around, your other daughters and their husbands should give him the chance to prove himself. That they refuse is sad in light of the fact that it prevents you from enjoying holidays with your entire family. However, I can’t change what’s happening, and neither can you, so celebrate with this couple separately.

Dear Abby: When I was 15, I was fortunate to trail-ride up a mountain with people familiar with the area. We stopped at a homestead to say hello to a man who had lived secluded there for 25 years. That’s when I first thought, “I want to be a hermit someday.”  Twenty-five years ago, I bought some acreage. I spent years hand-clearing and putting in infrastructure, but eventually my husband and I built a small home and studios. We love living in this private space.

My question has to do with the common belief that people need people. After 50 years of being a community-involved person, a shopkeeper in a service business and an event organizer, I’m now happily retired. I love my privacy. I don’t need to go anywhere or see almost anyone (aside from family). I will help when asked, rise to the occasion, cheer on, but — is it OK to love being a hermit?

My huge network of friends seems to accept it. Occasionally, rarely, someone may stop by and I make coffee. I could live this way as long as I live. I finally have my dream. But is it too weird? — Hermit in Washington

Dear Hermit: It’s unusual, but I don’t think it’s “weird.” One person’s dream may be another person’s nightmare; the reverse is also true. Enjoy living your dream, and do not apologize or feel guilty for it.

Dear Abby: I am in an awkward situation and need a diplomatic way to handle it. I own a business, and one customer is persistently asking to socialize. I always give an excuse, to no avail. He just continues to offer new dates and options. How do I get across to him that his invitations are not welcome, without jeopardizing our business relationship? — Help Needed in California

Dear Help: Tell this man you are flattered he wants to take you out, however, you have one hard-and-fast rule, and that rule is never to date a client. Period.

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

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