DEAR ABBY: I met "Gil" a year ago. He was one of the nicest men I'd ever met.
At the time, I didn't realize he was a mama's boy.
But after we started to talk, I noticed he would repeat everything to his mother. We discussed it and it stopped, but that's when his mom started treating me differently. I'm pretty sure he told her what I had said.
Gil loves my cooking and has told me I cook like she does. I don't know if that's so good.
I really like him, but I don't know if I can handle his being such a mama's boy.
If he could cut the apron strings, we could have a great relationship. He treats me like a queen. He respects me, never says an unkind word and compliments me often. But if I plan a meal for him and then his mom decides she wants him at her house, he cancels on me because he doesn't want to hurt her feelings.
Gil is 51 and hasn't been in a serious relationship in several years. I'm falling in love with him and don't want to lose him.
What do I do, and how do I handle this?
- Coming in Second in Missouri
DEAR COMING IN SECOND: Your mistake is trying to compete with Gil's mother because you can't win. The woman who snags Gil will have to accept that they are a package deal. Not many women these days are willing to accept that, which may be why Gil hasn't had a serious relationship in years.
However, if you are the exception, the way to handle this would be to cultivate (and ingratiate yourself with) his mother. Find out what her favorite flowers are and send them with a sweet note, invite her to join you and Gil for dinner and movies - and if she offers suggestions about your cooking, accept them gracefully.
I wish you luck.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 23 years old and currently in the county jail. I'm gay and also an addict, having battled a heroin addiction for the past five years.
I managed to stay clean for almost two years. During that time I enrolled in college, got engaged, regained the respect of my family and started to have a normal life.
Things were going very well for me, and then I relapsed. I threw everything away.
Abby, I need to know why, when things go well for me, I feel as if I don't deserve to be happy so I self-destruct. I have absolutely no self-confidence. I'm very unhappy.
Even when I seem to get what I want, it turns out to be not exactly what I wanted in the end. How can I fix this?
I really do want to be happy; I just don't know how.
- Unhappy Man in Indiana, Pa.
DEAR UNHAPPY: Your arrest may have been a blessing in disguise. It has given you time to think clearly about why you are in this situation. Because you now recognize what your issues are, you have already started on a path to healing.
You say you dislike yourself and your self-esteem is very low. This may be the reason you sabotage yourself when things start going well for you. After your release, a licensed psychotherapist can help you find the answers you're looking for. Your nearest LGBT community center would be a good place to start.
Because you slipped up once doesn't mean you will do it again, so stop beating yourself up and try to think positive.
I wish you luck and a successful future.
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.