Dear Abby: Online boyfriend refuses to meet in person

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DEAR ABBY: I met a really great guy online eight months ago. He lives in another country and we have been in a long-distance relationship for the last six months. We talk all the time, video chat frequently and have grown very close. I have never clicked with anyone like I have with him, and I know he feels the same.

We are having a significant disagreement about meeting in person. I’m willing to travel to his country. The expense, while not negligible, is within my means. However, he says he has some serious ongoing health issues and he wants to wait until they are resolved to meet. He has had them for much of his life, although they have gotten worse during the time I have known him. So far, there has been no diagnosis or treatment plan.

When I have asked, he says I should be patient and he doesn’t want our relationship to be about waiting to do things because of his condition.

Meanwhile, I know how much pain he is in. I see it every time we chat, and I know how much it affects him. It’s not going to scare me away. I just want to be there with him, to see if we work as well in person as we seem to online.

I don’t want to add to his stress by insisting we meet, but I also don’t want to spend months or years with my life on hold, waiting for a perfect time to meet. What should I do? — GAMER GIRL IN INDIANA

DEAR GAMER GIRL: When someone you meet online is reluctant to meet in person and interact with you fully, there is usually a reason. As h e’s had these “health problems” all his life, one would think there would be a NAME for the illness and a treatment plan.

Because he has neither, I question whether his health is the reason he doesn’t want you to visit him. He may be in a relationship or not as he has represented himself in some other way. What you need to do is move on.

DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law has the means to buy almost anything she wants. She’s a shopper, a borderline hoarder, yet very generous to her children. She buys expensive and unwanted gifts for all her kids — satisfying her shopping urges by getting us doubles of her latest cooking gadget, vacuum cleaner or 10-pound box of chocolate we shouldn’t be eating in the first place.

While we’re not poor, we sure could use the money she’s wasting on these silly gifts. How do we tell her that it’s awkward for us to receive an expensive vacuum when we need help with school tuition for our kids? Is it wrong for us to look a gift horse in the mouth, or insensitive of her to flaunt her purchasing power while we’re struggling? — REGRETFULLY UNGRATEFUL

DEAR REGRETFULLY: I’m not going to label your mother-in-law as insensitive or you as ungrateful. I do think the time has come for you and her son to have a frank talk with her and explain that, while you are grateful for the gifts, you could better use the money she’s spending on them for help with her grandchildren’s school tuition.

If that offends her, so be it, but if she loves her grandchildren, I don’t think it should.

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.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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