DEAR ABBY: I have a gay friend I’ll call “Allen.” We have been close friends for 13 years. Allen has visited me often with his friends from England, and two years ago, when I could finally afford to visit him, he invited me to stay in the home he shares with his boyfriend, “Rupert.” Rupert took an instant dislike to me. He treated me rudely and mocked my American accent the entire time I was there. I let it be and concentrated on the beautiful scenery, the beautiful people I met and my longtime friend.
On my last day there, Rupert offered to take me around London, which surprised me. But I was happy to get into the city, so I agreed. It was extremely unpleasant. He berated me loudly in public, called me old and ugly and yelled at me at top of his lungs in a gift shop.
I texted Allen later that day asking if I could stay the last night at a hotel instead of their guest room. He replied by telling me all the stuff Rupert had texted to him that day about how I had been treating HIM badly. I was shocked. I hadn’t mentioned anything about Rupert, but simply asked if he would be able to drive me to a hotel near the airport for my last night in England.
I have since tried to reach out to Allen to explain my side of the story, but he continues to ignore me. Any advice on how to move forward would be helpful. — SAD TRAVELER IN NEVADA
DEAR SAD TRAVELER: For whatever reason, Rupert regarded your long friendship with Allen as a threat, so he used the afternoon in London to cut you off at the knees. As long as Allen continues to ignore your efforts to mitigate the damage, consider him unreachable. With the passage of time, he may eventually realize how devious Rupert is, but this is a conclusion he must arrive at without your help. Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your friendship, which I am sure was important to you.
DEAR ABBY: Everywhere, it seems, there are books and guides for caring for aging parents. But what about aging siblings? The age difference is smaller, so it can end up with the elderly caring for the elderly — especially if there isn’t a next generation of family members on whom to rely.
As we baby boomers hit our 70s, we can find ourselves caring for siblings in their early 80s, and they’re even less likely to listen to us than our parents were. Frankly, some of us are already worn out from caring for elderly parents. We’re at the point of concern about our own health and that of our spouses. When you’ve got a 73-year-old trying to take care of an 80-year-old who is childless and lives 700 miles away, and who says only, “I’ll let you know when I need you,” it’s frightening. Any guidance? — DAUNTING IN THE SOUTH
DEAR DAUNTING: Yes, I think you should follow the directive of your 80-year-old sibling and wait to be asked for help instead of “hovering.” Familiarize yourself with what senior services are available in their community and cross your fingers they will not be needed. In addition, take whatever relevant guidance you can from the books on caring for parents, because in many ways, there may be great similarities.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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