DEAR ABBY: I am 18 and live with my parents. I have a part-time job and I also attend a local university. My parents and I have always gotten along, and I have been obedient and respectful of their rules.
I have suffered from depression for years, but now I have finally met someone who makes me happy and feel like I am worth something. Abby, he is of a different race. This doesn’t mean anything to me. I know he’s a great guy and I really like him. The problem is, my parents are very racist.
They have done so much for me that I feel guilty dating someone they don’t approve of. They have told me to never date someone like that. I am torn and ashamed of them, and I don’t know what to do. How do I break it to them? Am I wrong for being with a genuine, amazing guy who finally makes me happy? — FINALLY MET SOMEONE IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR FINALLY MET SOMEONE: I’m glad you are finally feeling better about yourself as a person, but before discussing this with your parents, it would be better if you separate the issues of your chronic depression and your feelings for this young man.
If this relationship were to end for some reason, would you cycle back down? If your parents react badly — as they may — would you be able to live independently? Are your parents capable of moderating their attitude about people of a different race? And because racism can be universal, how does his family feel about YOU?
Please consider these questions carefully, because until you have the answers and are prepared to be out on your own, I don’t think you should make any announcements.
DEAR ABBY: I run around with my sister “Pam” a lot. She is eight years older. She had a face-lift some years ago, and she continues to seek out cosmetic procedures to enhance her appearance. I have had Botox and fillers, but do not want a face-lift. I am trying to age gracefully, just at a slightly slower pace.
I love my sister and I think she looks beautiful. However, when Pam and I are together and tell people we’re sisters, they always think I’m the older one. My feelings are hurt. When our father died, I gained 30 pounds. Food was how I dealt with my grief. I have been working hard to get in better shape and lose weight.
I am halfway to my goal, and proud of myself, but when these encounters happen, I get thrown. How do I answer people who ask about the age difference and make those comments? — YOUNGER ONE IN FLORIDA
DEAR YOUNGER ONE: Not everyone ages at the same rate, and I don’t think the people who make those comments do it intending to be hurtful. With all the help she’s getting, it’s no wonder your sister appears younger.
If someone remarks about you appearing older, all you have to say is, “Nope! She’s my BIG sister.” And should someone comment on your appearance, be honest. Say you gained some weight, but you’re working on taking it off and getting back into shape. It’s no disgrace; it’s admirable.
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