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Prison sentence complicates longtime friendship

DEAR ABBY: I have a former high school classmate who, over the years, I’ve gotten pretty close to. He has been there for me when I was at my lowest, and I have been there for him as well. He lives several hours away, but we talked almost daily in addition to being on social media.

A few months ago I stopped hearing from him, and his social media profile went dark. I had a bad feeling, so I Googled him and was shocked to see he had been arrested! While it wasn’t a violent crime, it was horrible just the same. He has called me several times from prison, declaring his innocence — always requesting money. Abby, I live paycheck to paycheck. Even if I had extra money, I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving it to him.

I feel hurt and used. Part of me says I need to end the friendship; the other part says he needs friends right now and it’s not my place to judge him. I have refused to accept his last few calls because I really don’t know what to do. Your thoughts are appreciated. — BLINDSIDED IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR BLINDSIDED: This person hasn’t used you — yet. The next time he reaches out, accept the call. When you do, make clear that you can offer moral support, but you cannot give him money because you live paycheck to paycheck. You may not hear from him after that. But if he continues to ask, take a giant step backward and recognize this friendship has run its course.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for three years. He recently went back to his home state 1,000 miles away for what I thought would be a two-day trip to grab some things from his late mother’s estate. He has been unemployed for most of this past year due to the pandemic, so I’m somewhat conflicted about something he told me when I called to ask when he was coming home. He said he found a job and decided he wants to stay there and work for some months to save up enough money to pay off the bulk of our debt.

He did not consult me before making this decision. He told me he has worked out a COVID-safe housing arrangement with his sister and his aunt. The type of work he will be doing there is something he could do here, where our home is. I don’t want to discourage him, but it baffles me that he would take a job 1,000 miles away. What if something were to happen to me or our animals? When I told him I didn’t agree with his decision, he told me I should be happy he’s no longer unemployed. How should I handle this? — FAR AWAY IN MISSOURI

DEAR FAR AWAY: Your husband shouldn’t have taken a job 1,000 miles away without first talking with you. That said, what’s done is done, and you need to let this play out. There’s nothing to stop you from visiting. Fortunately, you and the animals are all doing well. If circumstances change, he can always quit the job and come back.

When the time comes, welcome your debt-free husband home. There will be plenty of time for the two of you to hash out IN PERSON what caused him to make such a disruptive decision if there were similar jobs available in your own community.

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.


Author-comedian Fannie Flagg is 80. Guitarist Don Felder (The Eagles) is 74. Author Stephen King is 74. Actor-comedian Bill Murray is 71. Actor-comedian Dave Coulier (“Full House”) is 62. Actress Nancy Travis is 60. Actor Rob Morrow (“Northern Exposure”) is 59. Actress Cheryl Hines is 56. Country singer Faith Hill is 54. Talk show host Ricki Lake is 53. Actor Billy Porter is 52. Actor Alfonso Ribeiro (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) is 50. Actor Luke Wilson is 50. TV personality Nicole Richie is 40. Actress Maggie Grace is 38. R&B singer Jason Derulo is 35.


Put your energy where it counts and stay focused on what’s important to you. Make adjustments that favor good health and better relationships. Find ways to ease stress and spend more time doing good things. Don’t let the tension build, make adjustments.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) — Put more thought into what you want to accomplish without giving in to interruptions. A unique approach to handling meaningful relationships will give you the edge you need.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) — Pour your energy into things that make you happy. Expand your interests, and you’ll meet people who stimulate your mind and push you to be your best.

SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 22) — Dig in and don’t stop until you are satisfied with what you accomplish. Give whatever you do your special touch, and you’ll gain recognition. An enthusiastic attitude will help.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23-Dec. 21) — Focus on home, family and finishing what you start. A change of pace will spark your imagination and encourage you to consider a new and exciting way to use your skills.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) — Avoid getting in the middle of someone’s dilemma. Distance yourself from family feuds. Make personal changes that will encourage fitness and health. Don’t restrict your plans.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — A chance to team up with someone will grab your interest. Crunch the numbers to figure out the best way to utilize your cash and come out ahead.

PISCES (Feb. 20-March 20) — Listen to what others have to say before you make a decision that will alter your financial situation. Pay more attention to the consequences you’ll face if you make a move that others do not favor.

ARIES (March 21-April 19) — Emotions will be difficult to control. A positive attitude will make a difference in the outcome of a personal situation. Be mindful of others before you share your thoughts.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20) — You’ll have a change of heart. Look at what you are up against and weigh the pros and cons before agreeing to something questionable. Leave nothing unfinished. Use your energy strategically.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20) — Prepare to question everything and everyone before you agree to something that will disrupt your life. Put your energy into fact-finding, organizing and expanding your chances to advance.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) — Mood swings will cause problems at home and work. Getting along will be half the battle if you plan to get things done. Alone time will give you a chance to work through sensitive issues.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) — Stay in touch with people who challenge and motivate you. Getting together with an old friend or relative will spark your imagination and help you confirm what you can do to make your life better.


By Chuck Sheppard

Bad Behavior: Amanda Lee, 50, of Crewe, Cheshire, England, has been thumbing her nose at convention since the 1990s, urinating and defecating anywhere she chooses in the town’s open spaces, CheshireLive reported. Finally, the Crewe Magistrate’s Court issued a CBO (criminal behavior order) against her on July 12, which prohibits her from having alcohol in an open container; using abusive language or threatening behavior in public; contacting police without a genuine emergency; relieving herself in public; and entering one specific street, Preece Court. Police constable Alex Barker said Lee “has persistently shown no consideration at all for the actions her offending has had on others. There comes a point where you have to say enough is enough.” The criminal penalty for breaching the CBO is a five-year prison sentence.

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