Dear Abby: I sent condolences, and relative replied with terrible family dirt

Reader really didn’t want to know those things about late uncle.

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DEAR ABBY: I reached out recently to the daughter of my cousin who had just passed away. I offered condolences and a picture of her great-grandfather, who was my grandfather. I also shared some warm memories of her dad, my cousin.

She shot back with some seriously negative information about her dad’s dad, my uncle. It really shook me. I didn’t want to know that information. I barely knew my uncle, but my memories of the family all involved happy times together.

What she said shocked and saddened me. I wish I didn’t know. I think people should speak well of those who are gone or say nothing. Don’t you? — UNPLEASANT IN THE WEST

DEAR UNPLEASANT: Most people tend to omit the unpleasant details when talking about someone who has passed on, but I do not think there are any hard-and-fast rules. I’m sorry you were upset about the dose of truth you received in exchange for your warm memories. But understand, I have read obituaries and listened to eulogies that were so sanitized I didn’t recognize who was being discussed. Perhaps there is a happy medium.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 59-year-old man who was engaged to a 46-year-old woman. She told me she was going to leave for work on Friday, but I found out she was actually going on a vacation. She was pretending to go to work but driving to Georgia to meet a married man she met on a dating site instead.

We live in New Jersey, and it’s a 13-hour drive. I found her phone the day before and deleted all his info, but she still drove down there to meet him. I am devastated and crushed. Any help or suggestions? I wish people who do this stuff could be tattooed on the forehead to warn other good people. — HURT IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR HURT: I sympathize with your pain, which I am sure is considerable. I do have some advice, which I hope you will heed. Please realize that finding her phone before her departure was a gift to you from above. Thank your higher power that you now understand exactly who this woman is and didn’t marry her.

The time has come to move forward resolutely. There are better days — and better women — ahead. I say this with certainty because you can’t do worse than this one.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 13-year-old with an addiction to screens. I sometimes pull overnighters on my phone. I’m starting to realize my limits. Sometimes I cannot trust myself with my actions, and I think I may need help. Do you have any advice? — SEEING THE LIGHT IN MARYLAND

DEAR SEEING: It takes a brave person to admit they have a problem and be proactive in accepting that it may be something they can’t solve on their own. I congratulate you for admitting it. You are not the only teen with this issue. Many people your age and older struggle with it, too.

Your next step should be to talk to your parents about your concerns and ask for help in breaking your screen addiction. This can sometimes involve more than going “cold turkey,” and they may need to seek a referral from your doctor.

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.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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