DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are expecting a baby in a few months. My father and his wife asked if we would like a large crib/changing table/shelf combination they took a fancy to at an antique store. I politely refused and explained that there is no space in our small apartment. They sent it anyway! Now I have to figure out how to get rid of it because it takes up most of our living room. The piece can’t be returned, won’t fit in my car, and I can’t lift it anyway. I’m hoping the thrift store will pick it up.

My questions are: Must I send a thank you for a gift I explicitly asked them not to send, and what should I say when they discover I’ve given it away (they are going to be angry), and how do I prevent this from happening again? — UNWANTED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR UNWANTED: Write your father and stepmother a sweet note thanking them for their thoughtfulness, and include with it a photo or two that show it crowding your living room. The next time you talk with them, explain that space is tight and offer to have it shipped to THEM to be used when the baby visits. If they agree, you’re off the hook. If they don’t, sell or donate it.

As to preventing this from happening again, much as you may wish to, you can’t control what other people do. You tried that before, and it didn’t work.

DEAR ABBY: I am an 18-year-old guy. A lot of my best friends are super cool and absolutely amazing people. All of them share one thing in common. They all dye their hair different unnatural colors, such as green, purple and even rainbow. I have natural hair, but now I feel left out, and I want to do the same. But I wonder what it feels like to have hair like that. Do you have any opinions on the subject or heard of past experiences from anyone about this? — DYED HAIR HOPEFUL

DEAR DYED HAIR HOPEFUL: Dyeing your hair in a neon color will attract attention, some of it positive and some of it negative. What’s important is whether YOU like it and the kind of attention it brings. You will never know until you try it. It’s only hair. If you decide you don’t like it, you can dye it back to its natural color or cut it off and let it grow out. It’s important to remember that hair dye will not make you cool and amazing. You are already those things.

DEAR ABBY: I mentioned to two friends that my best friend was thinking of moving. One of them told the main office of the company they work at. When my best friend found out, she said I had betrayed her, and she no longer wants to be my friend.

I love and miss her. I have tried everything to repair our friendship. She’ll say hello when I see her, but she no longer calls or visits me. What can I do to get back in her good graces? I have apologized, but nothing seems to help. Please advise. — NEEDS MY FRIEND

DEAR NEEDS: If your friend didn’t warn you that the discussion about her moving was IN CONFIDENCE, she has no one to blame but herself for the word getting out. Perhaps you should remind her of that fact. I can’t guarantee that it will repair your relationship, but if it’s the truth, she should hear it.

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship for 10 years. We live together as husband and wife, but for personal reasons, we decided marriage is not for us. I have been married and divorced twice and have three children. One is 17, and the older two are grown. None of them have cars. We live in a rural area without public transportation.

I was recently diagnosed with epilepsy and given a six-month driving restriction. Before my diagnosis, my boyfriend signed up to do a sport over the summer that takes him away four Sundays, our only day together. He does a different sport that takes him away for Labor Day. It upsets me that knowing I cannot get around and feel “trapped,” he hasn’t altered his plans in any way. He says I’m not as “trapped” as I feel, and I should use expensive ride-sharing services or rely solely on friends, which I feel is an imposition. I don’t have many friends, especially ones who live close.

Because he isn’t willing to modify his plans, I feel like I’m taking a back seat to his hobbies. Is this fair? What advice can you provide so I don’t feel as angry and resentful as I currently do? I still have five months to go on this restriction, and that is only if I am seizure-free. — STUCK IN ILLINOIS

DEAR STUCK: Is it out of the question that you could accompany him to one or more of these Sunday games?

It appears your guy is centered solely on himself. Couples are supposed to have each other’s backs. Although you never stood at an altar and pledged “in sickness and in health,” after 10 years together, one would think the promise is implied. Consider this a wake-up call. It indicates that should you have more serious health problems down the line, this is what you can expect from him in the future.

That said, your present condition should improve by the end of the summer. Focusing on THAT fact may lessen your resentment right now. But don’t beat yourself up for having the feelings you do; right now, they are warranted.

If your children have driver’s licenses, perhaps they could drive you around so you’re not so isolated.


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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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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