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DEAR ABBY

Connecting with teens will impact new relationship

DEAR ABBY: After I ended a 20-year marriage, I took some time off from relationships and am now back in the dating world. My ex-husband and I never had children.

I recently met a man with two teenagers. He says I am “detached” from children. I am not detached! I just never had experience with them. How do I proceed with this relationship since his kids are very dear to him? — NOT DETACHED

DEAR NOT DETACHED: This man’s offspring are no longer “children.” They are teenagers, and teens can be complicated. Reach out to them the way you would anyone of any age. Be friendly and show them you are interested in them. If they have a mother in the picture, do not try to “mother” them. See if you share any common interests (sports, music, fashion, etc.), resist the urge to lecture them, and be a good listener.

DEAR ABBY: Back around 1987, a girl asked me to take her to her high school prom. I was several years older, didn’t know her well and wanted to say no but couldn’t. In the end I stood her up. I don’t even remember her name. She worked at a grocery store with my brother.

That was more than 30 years ago. I am married now and have two fine children. I was recently asked what my biggest regret is, and I said standing her up. Not one week has gone by in the last 30 years that I haven’t thought about her and wished I could find her and tell her how truly sorry I am.

It’s funny. Although I can’t remember her name, there’s no one from my past that I have thought about more than her. I would give anything to find her and apologize. It haunts me. Any suggestions? — BIGGEST REGRET IN THE SOUTH

DEAR BIGGEST REGRET: What you did to that girl was brutal. Because it’s not possible for you to directly offer the apology she deserves, concentrate harder on the present and always try to treat everyone with kindness and sensitivity.

DEAR ABBY: I’d like advice on how to handle a problem that crops up every time family members invite me out to a dinner they are paying for.

I know the rule of etiquette is to order an item that’s the same or less than what the host is ordering, but I am often asked to order first. This means I have no idea what the payer’s meal will cost. If it means ordering something on the menu other than what I’d rather have — a burger instead of a steak — in that case, should I offer to pay for my own meal? What if they won’t hear of taking any money from me? Can I still order the steak since my offer to pay was refused? — LIKES TO FOLLOW THE RULES

DEAR LIKES: A way to get around ordering first might be to say, “I haven’t decided yet. I’d like to hear what the others are ordering.” However, if you would be uncomfortable doing that, and your hosts won’t let you have a separate check, be a gracious guest and enjoy every bite of your steak dinner.

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 P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS

Actress Anouk Aimee is 89. Rock singer Kate Pierson (The B-52’s) is 73. R&B singer Herb Murrell (The Stylistics) is 72. Guitarist Ace Frehley of KISS is 70. Pop singer Sheena Easton is 62. Singer Mica Paris is 52. Actress Maura West is 49. Actress Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”) is 45. Rock singer Jim James (My Morning Jacket) is 43. Rock singer-musician Travis Meeks (Days of the New) is 42. Actress Ari Graynor is 38. Rock singer-musician Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy) is 37. Actress Jenna Coleman (“Doctor Who”) is 35. Pop singer Nick Noonan (Karmin) is 35. Singer Lizzo is 33.

TODAY'S HOROSCOPE

Stick to the rules; take good care of yourself and those you love. Go above and beyond the call of duty to get things done right and on time. Progress will unfold if you are willing to put your all into whatever you pursue.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20) — Address issues that can hold you back. Set high standards and work hard, and you’ll gain the respect of those you live or work alongside. Add a personal touch to whatever you pursue.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20) — Check out what’s required to move forward. Show discipline and patience when dealing with people you find challenging. Leave nothing to chance or incomplete. Don’t count on anyone but yourself.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) — Use your skills and knowledge to your advantage. You can make a difference if you take a leadership position. Take control, and you’ll get the results you desire. Personal improvements will pay off.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) — Show discipline and stick to your plan. Stop worrying about what others do, and concentrate on what you are doing. Partnership problems will arise if you let your emotions interfere with how you behave.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) — Don’t be afraid to do things your way. Take a unique approach. Opportunities to use your skills diversely and to connect with people who share your sentiments will unfold.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) — Live up to your promises, take care of your personal and professional responsibilities, and aim to stabilize your life. Avoid getting involved in joint ventures or agreeing to share expenses.

SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 22) — Take the path that leads to personal growth and a change of scenery. Focus on decluttering your life and letting go of situations holding you back or limiting your freedom.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23-Dec. 21) — Spend more time at home altering your space to accommodate what you want to do next. Don’t trust anyone with personal information, possessions or passwords.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) — Put your energy where it counts, and don’t stop until you reach your destination. Look at obscure propositions and adjust them to fit into your lifestyle and dreams. Romance will enhance your life.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Give others the freedom to do as they please, and redirect your energy into something that will benefit you personally. Fitness, health and personal growth are in your best interest.

PISCES (Feb. 20-March 20) — A change in direction will be rejuvenating and give you something to embrace. Follow your heart, and take the initiative to make your dreams come true. Romance is favored.

ARIES (March 21-April 19) — Dig in and get something done that makes you proud and fulfilled. Don’t get angry over something you cannot change. Find a way to work around any obstacle you encounter.

NEWS OF THE WEIRD

By Chuck Sheppard

Vintage Weird: Brian Robson of Cardiff, Wales, was 19 years old in 1964, when he accepted a job on the Victorian Railways in Australia. He almost immediately regretted his decision and started scheming about how to get back home, but he didn’t have enough money for the return trip. That’s when he had an idea: With the help of two Irish friends, Robson squeezed himself into a 30-by-26-by-38-inch wooden crate and shipped himself home in the cargo area of a Qantas flight. “The first 10 minutes was fine,” he told CNN. “But your knees start to cramp up when they’re stuck up to your chest.” When the crate arrived in Sydney, it landed on the tarmac upside down. “So now I’m sitting on my neck and my head,” he explained, “and I was there for 22 hours upside down,” until arriving next in Los Angeles, where two airport workers discovered him. He spent six days recovering in a hospital as word of his story got out, and Pan Am airlines sent Robson home to London in a first-class seat. Robson lost touch with the friends who helped him but now hopes to find them and reconnect. He’s never been back to Australia.

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