Dear Abby: Rude woman nags her brother to close his business and retire

The business is successful and employs many people, and the man’s wife is sick of the badgering from her sister-in-law.

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DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law is increasingly overbearing and abusive to me. It has always been a problem, but I ignored her nasty comments. Now, I am finally sick of it.

During the last year, she has begun to insist my husband retire. She wants us to close the doors of a business we have operated for 43 years. We are highly successful. We have more than 23 employees who depend on their salaries for their livelihood, and the business is valuable.

I have tried to tell her nicely to butt out, but it has only made her more abusive. I can’t draw Social Security yet, so I wouldn’t have an income. My husband won’t say much about it. Now she’s soliciting our friends to call us and harass us about retiring. Help! — STILL WORKING IN VIRGINIA

DEAR STILL WORKING: If anyone tells you to retire and sell your business, an appropriate response would be, “I know you mean well, but when we’re ready to retire, we will let you know.”

DEAR ABBY: I have been involved with someone for more than a year, and he has proposed. Being in a long-distance relationship has been very difficult. In the beginning, he was very attentive. He lives in Tennessee, and I am in Oregon.

I love him very much and I thought we were going to have a future together. However, he is very busy with his career so it’s difficult making plans. We have set wedding dates a couple of times, and it’s always getting put on hold.

My problem lately is he hasn’t been responding to me by text or email. He said he loves me, but I don’t understand why he hasn’t gotten ahold of me. What do I do now? — HANGING IN THE BALANCE

DEAR HANGING: I wish you had mentioned how long it has been since he has communicated with you. Could he be sick, injured or incarcerated? If it is none of those and it has been more than a couple of weeks, it would be fair to assume his enthusiasm has cooled, and you should reconsider the long-distance engagement.

DEAR ABBY: I am a nonbeliever and I need advice about how to respond when people “send prayers, are praying for you and yours, etc.” There are countless “prayer” messages on social media for all occasions. I never know what to say because I don’t pray, nor do I send prayers to anyone. Sending “warm thoughts” seems lame. What would be an appropriate response? — AWKWARD IN NEW MEXICO

DEAR AWKWARD: You are not obligated to mention anything about God or prayers. If prayers are addressed to you, thank the sender for their thoughtfulness. If they are addressed to you and your family, include the word “we.” If, however, the life challenge is someone else’s, some appropriate responses might be, “I am sorry for your pain. I am sending warm thoughts, love, (etc.), with wishes for a speedy recovery, deepest sympathy, (etc.).”

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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