Dear Abby: I'm 51 and never married. I'm not bad-looking, and I am not gay. I just got dumped by another girl-friend, which is nothing new. What turns women off are the constant demands of my mother. She calls at least once a day, and I go to her home almost every day, especially on weekends. Dad is dead and there are no other siblings, so I'm the one always on call.

"Mary," the lady who just called it quits, says Mother is abusive to me because I have been trying to get her approval all my life and she never gives it.Mother "almost" gives me kindness and love, but then she manages to say something ugly or belittling that devastates me. I slam the door and leave in a rage. Then I go back, and we repeat the same scenario. Every time I go back, I think this time it will be different.

Mary said I act like a battered wife returning over and over to her abusive husband. She said I'm just as addicted to being abused as my mother is to abusing me. At first I was furious and refused to believe it, but now I'm getting scared that she's right.

I've been waiting for Mother to die for the last 10 years. She is not in the best of health and calls me constantly in a panic saying she's dying. Actually, I think she will outlive me.

Abby, do people ever resolve stuff like this? Or are there some people who can't be helped? I'm middle-age, so what is the point of anything now?

- Might as Well Die

in Washington State

Dear Might: Your ex-girlfriend gave you some valuable insight before she left.

The hallmark of neurotic behavior is its repetitive pattern. Yes, problems like yours can be resolved; however, the only way to break this painful cycle is professional counseling to help you learn to behave like an adult, instead of a needy child, in the presence of your mother.

Dear Abby: Now that the wedding season is here, many people planning their weddings will be concerned with the issue of guests drinking during the reception and driving home afterward. I'd like to share how my husband and I dealt with this issue when we got married.

We had an outdoor wedding at a winery that could only be accessed through narrow, winding roads. We were concerned about our guests driving home afterward, and we wanted to find an attractive alternative to the fabulous wine that was served.

So, in addition to the coffee service, we rented an espresso cart service so guests could have a choice of (free) coffee drinks. There was a selection of caffeinated and decaffeinated espressos, lattes, cappuccinos, etc. Our family and friends loved it! The espresso vendor eventually ran out of glass cups and had to use paper.

Our excellent wedding consultant, always mindful of our budget, had warned that the espresso cart service would be "a little pricey," but we had saved wedding costs in other areas, and frankly, the enjoyment of our guests and the peace of mind was worth every red cent.

- San Francisco Bride

Dear San Francisco Bride: That's a practical suggestion, and one I know will be appreciated by many brides-to-be. Than you for offering it.

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