DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, I ran into an old acquaintance from high school and she invited me to lunch. We started having lunch together about twice a month.

I enjoyed it at first, but soon noticed that she did nothing but complain. We are both 42, which she considers "over the hill." She is married to a lovely man, has money and wonderful children who have never given her any trouble, but she's envious of all of her friends - this one's new car and that one's recent trip, although she wants for nothing. She constantly whines about growing "old." I had many problems in my younger years, and I found happiness late in life. I think 42 is a wonderful age.My problem: How do I get rid of this woman? I have been very patient, but I just can't take her negative, complaining attitude any longer. After lunch with her, I feel anything but good. - DEFLATED

DEAR DEFLATED: You could avoid her by being "busy" and unavailable for lunch, and thereby cool the friendship. But please consider being candid with her. You'd be doing her an enormous favor. The truth hurts (for a little while), but in this case it may help her to see herself as others see her, and perhaps inspire her to become a more positive, attractive person.

DEAR ABBY: I really enjoyed the letter in your column written by the bandleader who listed the titles of the songs his band played in honor of wedding anniversaries.

He asked for suggestions for anniversaries over 50 years. When two friends of mine who are in their late 70s were recently married, the band played, "Lord, please help me make it through the night." - E.U. IN OGILVIE, MINN.

DEAR ABBY: I have been going with a divorced man for the last three years. For the first year and a half he was living with a girl, then she moved out of the state. When she moved out, I moved in and have been staying at his house ever since.

My problem is that he wants to remain friends with his "ex," which is OK with me, but he lies to her. When she calls and asks if he's seeing anyone, he says, "No." Once when I answered the phone and she asked him who I was, he said, "It's the maid."

I am sick of being hidden from his "ex." (He tells me not to make any noise when he's on the phone with her.) What can I do to stop him from hiding me and lying to her? - BACK-STREET GIRLFRIEND

DEAR GIRLFRIEND: You can't stop him from hiding you or lying to his "ex." From your description, this man is an accomplished liar. While he was living with a girl (for a year and a half) he was sneaking around with you - and you cooperated. Now, you're living with him while he lies to his "ex" about who you are. It would appear that he prefers to keep you in the closet.

If you want to spend the rest of your life in the closet, it's your decision. I have no idea what else you have going for you, but ask yourself, would you be better off with him or without him, and act accordingly.

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