Dear Abby: As I mourn, may I ask friends to send no birthday cards?

The two siblings often celebrated their big days together, but this year the occasion brings only dread.

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DEAR ABBY: My brother passed away six months ago. With difficulty, I am coping. We were very close. Our birthdays were four days apart, and we enjoyed many celebrations together over the years.

My birthday is coming up and I’m dreading the day. Worse than being sad is pretending that I’m not. My immediate family understands I don’t want any cards or “Happy Birthday” greetings. Would it be appropriate for me to contact people before the day and ask them not to send cards or gifts?

I cringe at the thought of any celebration this year, or having to thank people for the attention. Can I throw any cards I receive in the trash? It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to. — SURVIVING SIS IN THE WEST

DEAR SIS: Considering your loss, there’s nothing inappropriate about telling friends and family you do not want to celebrate this upcoming birthday. Tell your closest friends and family members what your wishes are, and post it on the internet as well. If you receive anything after that, you are free to do with it whatever you wish, including donating or trashing it.

DEAR ABBY: I’m 42 and my guy friend is 59. He’s a wonderful person and a great provider. I’ve known him for about a year now, but he seems a bit controlling. He wants me around seven days a week and expects me to be this submissive woman that I’m not. I’m very independent. I always earned my way in life with little to no help at all.

I’m not perfect. I admit I can be a little confusing at times. But his constant complaining about how I’m not there confuses me. When I come over and hang out and spend time with him, he pushes me away and says it is my fault. Mind you, I have a 7-year-old daughter. I like him a lot, but he tends to be too much. Should I let it go or try to find some common ground and work things out? — CONFUSED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR CONFUSED: I would vote for the former. Because you have a young daughter to care for, you cannot be at this “wonderful” high-maintenance man’s beck and call 24/7. If you can convey that to him, it may save the relationship.

However, if he can’t accept reality, you are better off moving on without him. You need a partner who is prepared to accept you for who you actually are rather than who he wants you to be.

DEAR ABBY: Every time I leave the house, my wife needs a play-by-play as to where I am going, how long I’ll be away, etc. Years ago, I used to be a player, but age has caught up with me. Advice? — GETTING FRUSTRATED IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR GETTING FRUSTRATED: I find it disappointing that you have only stopped cheating because time, and not your conscience, finally caught up with you. Tell your wife what she needs to know. It’s the price you are paying to regain your credibility and her trust.

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.

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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