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Son with new girlfriend grows more distant from his mother

DEAR ABBY: I’m a mom of three young adults, a daughter and two sons. The oldest recently married. My youngest is finishing his last two years of college out of state. Three months ago, he met a young lady.

I have tried constantly to be close with all my children, but the youngest has always kept me at bay. He expresses how different we are. Now that he has met this young lady, I think he’s trying to push me further away and continue on with her and her mom. It makes me sad because no matter how hard I try to be a good mother and be present, it doesn’t work. What do you suggest? — SAD MOM IN MISSISSIPPI

DEAR MOM: Your son is pursuing not only this young lady, but also his independence, which is normal for someone his age, and he may need to separate from you for a while. Back off for now and allow him some space. Whether this college romance will pan out is anyone’s guess, so calm down. If possible, concentrate on things other than your empty nest. However, if you are unable to do that, ask your physician or your insurance company to refer you to a licensed psychotherapist to help you get through this.

DEAR ABBY: I lost my schnauzer to diabetes five months ago. He was my best and, really, only friend. I can’t get over the guilt for having to euthanize him. I hate myself. I have cried every day since because I feel like I let him down. I have never had to go through this before. It was so traumatic I just can’t get over it. Why is this so hard? — BEYOND GRIEF IN UTAH

DEAR BEYOND GRIEF: You have my sympathy. If your dog was suffering and your veterinarian told you the time had come for him to go, you did the right thing. Our beloved pets should run and play rather than suffer. This is so painful because you loved your cherished family member and feel you should have saved him, which, of course, was beyond your power.

Every pet owner faces what you are experiencing when they leave their pet at the Rainbow Bridge. In time, your pain should lessen. But if it persists to the point that it interferes with the rest of your life, consult your veterinarian about joining a grief support group.

DEAR ABBY: My husband of 49 years is fighting me left and right about finding someone to help around our house. He is stubborn. He has tunnel vision and a one-track mind, and he doesn’t want anyone to assist him in anything. If I hire someone, he always has a negative comment about that person’s workmanship.

He’s retired after working 44 years and thinks life will wait for him to complete any task, even if it takes another 49 years. I need help with his “I can handle it” attitude while everything stays on hold until he can get to it. — NEEDS IT YESTERDAY IN MICHIGAN

DEAR NEEDS IT: Give your husband a deadline to either finish a project or hire it done, making clear that if he doesn’t do it, you will see it gets done. Then batten down the hatches and be prepared for him not to take the message gracefully.

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.


The Amazing Kreskin is 86. Country singer William Lee Golden (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 82. Actress Kirstie Alley is 70. Political commentator Rush Limbaugh is 70. Country singer Ricky Van Shelton is 69. Radio-TV personality Howard Stern, below, is 67. Writer-producer-director John Lasseter is 64. Actor Oliver Platt is 61. Entrepreneur Jeff Bezos is 57. Rock singer Rob Zombie is 56. Model Vendela is 54. Actress Farrah Forke is 53. Rock singer Zack de la Rocha is 51. Rapper Raekwon (Wu Tang Clan) is 51. Singer Melanie Chisholm (Spice Girls) is 47. R&B singer Amerie is 41. Actress Issa Rae is 36. Singer Zayn is 28.


Consider what makes you happy and adjust your life accordingly. The changes you make will help you see things more clearly. Choose your words wisely, and make sure you practice what you preach. An updated look are favored.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) — It’s OK to do things differently. Don’t feel bound to tradition or to what someone wants you to do. A change will lift your spirits and encourage you to be more active.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You will meet with opposition if you show signs of insecurity or confusion. Stand tall and be clear about what you want. Look for an opportunity, and follow through with a plan.

PISCES (Feb. 20-March 20) — You’ll get the opportunity to explore something you want to pursue. How you represent yourself will make a difference. Direct your energy where it will be most effective.

ARIES (March 21-April 19) — You’ll have to rely on your connections to help you get ahead. A competitive individual will try to make you look bad. Preparation, intelligence and strategy will help you out.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20) — Keep an open mind, size up situations and make decisions based on facts. Personal improvements, growth and unique friendships will develop if you use social media to your advantage. Be direct.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20) — Gather information. Trusting someone to take care of your business will set you back. Question everything and everyone before you agree to make a change.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) — A change someone suggests will be useful for you emotionally, but not financially. Think twice before you let someone push you in a bad direction. Concentrate on creativity and personal happiness.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) — You’ll have plenty of ideas, but consider your motives before you leap into action. A change will lead to uncertainty if you haven’t thought matters through sufficiently.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) — Jump at the chance to learn something new or to use your skills differently. The more you know and have to offer, the greater the reward. Be as versatile as possible.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) — Don’t let your desire for change lead you down a rabbit hole. Don’t trade one negative situation for another. Baby steps will help you incorporate a promising strategy.

SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 22) — Let your intuition be your guide. Stay focused on knowledge and facts. Use your imagination to outmaneuver anyone who tries to get in your way.  

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23-Dec. 21) — Let go of negative baggage. Prepare to move forward with optimism, intelligence and a disciplined attitude. Giving anyone the chance to take care of your responsibilities will result in disappointment.


By Chuck Sheppard

Schemes: Kimberly Ragsdale’s apparent plan to get free food at a Chick-Fil-A in Rockmart, Georgia, ended in her arrest on charges of impersonating a public officer on Nov. 5. According to police, Ragsdale, 47, of Dallas, had repeatedly visited the restaurant, telling workers she was an FBI agent and threatening to arrest them if they didn’t serve her a complimentary meal. Ragsdale continued her charade, the Associated Press reported, telling arresting officers her credentials were electronic and talking “into her shirt like she was talking into a radio,” the arrest report noted. Rockmart Police Chief Randy Turner said in a statement to news outlets, “You will not hear a real officer demand a meal anywhere.”

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