DEAR ABBY: Years ago, I dated an awful guy. He possessed just about every negative quality you could imagine. I dated him anyway because I was immature, depressed and lonely.

Since we broke up and I got my mental health back on track, my life has been wonderful. I keep moving up and forward in life.

I hear through the grapevine that his life, on the other hand, is in shambles. I blame myself for wasting the time I did with him.

Sometimes when he pops into my head I get sick to my stomach. I’m afraid he might come back into my life and harm me because he blames me for his miserable life and bad choices.

How do you remove such a negative person from your memory? Is it possible to forget — especially when you want to? — ANNOYED IN TEXAS

DEAR ANNOYED: Your experiences have made you the person you are, and at this point in your life, you have made yourself successful and happy. Congratulations for that.

Now it’s time to stop listening to news about your ex-boyfriend through the grapevine. When friends bring him up, tell them you aren’t interested. If he lives nearby, frequents the same places you do and has threatened you, talk to law enforcement or move.

Give it time; time has a way of healing. It’s important that you continue getting on with your life. You may find fears will dissipate once you find a new significant other.

DEAR ABBY: I’m someone who’s been chronically hot for as long as I can remember. In winter, I usually wear lighter clothes than most people so I can be comfortable. Unfortunately, complete strangers feel compelled to ask several times a day, “Aren’t you cold?” or say, “You’re crazy for dressing that way!”

I don’t feel I should have to justify my wardrobe, and I think calling someone crazy is out of line. I have pointed out to some people that how I dress is none of their business, at which point they take offense. (One guy even told me to “shove it where the sun don’t shine.”)

I don’t think my response was inappropriate considering that they were the ones judging me. I’m the one who should have been upset.

What can I say to these judgmental people without justifying myself and without evoking an angry response? — NOT CRAZY, JUST COMFORTABLE

DEAR NOT CRAZY: Most people are curious when they see something “different.” Wearing lightweight clothing in the dead of winter qualifies as different.

If you are asked, all you need to say is that your body temperature runs hotter than most people’s, and you are perfectly comfortable. Period.

DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine died recently. My question is, how much time should I wait before asking his widow if she saved his hearing aids from the crematorium and if so, could I have them? — CHEAP MINNESOTAN

DEAR MINNESOTAN: You didn’t mention how long ago your friend died, but if it was yesterday, give the widow a week or two to recover from the shock of her loss. I say this because if you wait too long, somebody else may grab them, but if you ask too soon, she may give you an earful.

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 http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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