Dear Abby: Boyfriend’s nice to me but mean to strangers

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DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend is incredibly sweet and kind to me, but he’s often mean to strangers and can be very aggressive and angry. Some examples: I’m moving in with him, and we are giving a lot of furniture to the poor. One couple, who had agreed to take a couch, decided not to. He yelled at them and told them they were going back on their word and causing him problems, so they agreed to take it anyway.

Another example: We are dancers, and when someone got in his way on the dance floor, he yelled at them and called them names.

I’m afraid he’s going to make himself hated in class. In traffic he yells and swears at everyone. I’m worried he’ll start to lose patience with me like this. Can you please give me some advice? — NERVOUS IN THE NORTH

DEAR NERVOUS: Your boyfriend may be sweet and kind to you, but he has an anger management problem and a low tolerance for frustration. You are right to be concerned that one day he will unload on you.

Tell him you care about him, but you view his volatility as a danger to your relationship, and it may also hold him back in future employment. Urge him to get help for it. Without help, the problem will only get worse.

DEAR ABBY: A child in my son’s second-grade class goes by the name “Sir _____ _____,” and if anyone leaves out “Sir,” he corrects them (and not very nicely). The family claims the child has been knighted, but the details become vague when asked.

Abby, I did some digging around. This child’s name isn’t on the official British list of knighted citizens. It’s impossible to inherit the title “Sir” and basically unheard of for an American 7-year-old boy to legitimately be given the title.

I feel titles should be earned (such as “Dr.,” “Captain,” or “Mrs.”), not made up to generate a sense of power over those around you. May I tell my son it’s OK not to use this bogus title? — KNIGHTED SECOND-GRADER?

DEAR KNIGHTED: I don’t recommend it. The kid may have been given the name “Sir” by his parents at birth, just as the children of certain celebrities have been named “Prince” or “Your Majesty.” If your son prefers not to address the boy by name, he’s free not to address him at all.

DEAR ABBY: My significant other and I have been together for 25 years. I am a youthful 71; he is 59. Until recently I could cope with our age difference, but it has become a problem when we dine in restaurants. The server will often place the bill in front of me.

I am not certain if I should be angry or insulted. How do I correct this faux pas without embarrassing my partner? — LUCKY LADY IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR LUCKY LADY: It should not embarrass your significant other if you tell the presumptuous server that your escort is picking up the check.

Alternatively, it wouldn’t hurt your S.O. to speak up and ask that it be handed to him. If there’s a question in a server’s mind about who will be paying the bill, it should be placed in the middle of the table.

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.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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