DEAR ABBY: I have a family problem that I don't know how to handle.
My daughter and her husband and children live in another state. They both have good jobs and are decent, reliable people. Last year, my daughter and her husband got into a financial bind and borrowed some money from my mother-in-law, who is also my daughter's grandmother. (I'll call her Nell.) My daughter and her husband asked Nell to please keep the loan confidential, as they didn't want anyone else in the family to know about their financial setback. Nell is financially secure.Well, Nell phoned me immediately to tell me about the loan. I never did tell my daughter that Nell told me about it. Now Nell keeps calling me to rake my daughter over the coals if she is late with a payment! Abby, it upsets me terribly to hear her complain about what a terrible daughter I have. What should I do? - STILL UPSET
DEAR UPSET: Either write a letter or telephone Nell and convey the following message: "I do not want to hear any more about my daughter and her husband's loan - that is between them and you, so please do not mention it again."
And if Nell calls you and brings it up, tell her you are busy and cannot listen to her. Then hang up. Your daughter and son-in-law have my sympathy.
DEAR ABBY: Seven years ago, I fell in love with a man. I told myself it was only a "crush" because I felt ashamed and guilty and couldn't face up to my feelings for him. You see, he was a priest and I was a student at a Catholic college in which he taught.
I have since married and haven't seen "Father F." for some years, but my feelings for him have not diminished - they've grown stronger. I keep thinking about him and don't know what to do.
Should I divorce my husband? He's a decent man. I've never told him about my feelings about Father F., but our marriage is not working, and he deserves a woman who loves only him.
Should I take a job that would let me be close to Father F.? Even if I never have any relationship - even a friendly one - would being near him make me feel better, or would it make matters worse?
Should I go on as before, try to be a good wife and mother, and hope that things will get better and I'll forget him? Or should I divorce my husband and date other men in the hope that maybe I'll fall in love with someone else and do better next time?
Incidentally, I'm a proud, self-contained woman and consider myself capable of handling my problems. But the fact that I am actually writing to you for advice is a measure of my desperation. Please help me. I can't sign my name. - MY SECRET
DEAR MY SECRET: You have two major problems. Your marriage is in trouble, and you are obsessed with Father F. (Call it a schoolgirl crush, a fatal attraction, "love" - whatever.)
In any case, I suggest that you see a counselor or some kind of family therapist. You must let go of this fantasy you've been nurturing for far too long.
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