DEAR ABBY: Something has been bothering me for a long time. When I attend family functions, I become extremely bored. Whether they are birthday parties or Christmas Eve celebrations, they bore me to tears. To be honest, I would prefer not to attend, but I don't want to offend anyone. Must I continue to be polite, or can I just stop attending? If I had more money I would move farther away. Please offer an opinion. — BORED IN NEW YORK
DEAR BORED: Gladly. You don't have more money, and moving away is not an option. I'm sure this has been less of an issue recently because of the pandemic. Family celebrations are more about support and solidarity than scintillation. While it would be understandable that you might not be available for each and every event, if you skip more than you go to, there WILL be hurt feelings. So, in my opinion, once the pandemic is behind us, you should go. Rather than dwell on being "entertained," concentrate on making the occasion enjoyable for others. You might also consider doing what I have observed politicians doing, which is making an appearance at these gatherings and leaving early.
DEAR ABBY: I'm recently divorced. Because of my work schedule and moving to a smaller place, I no longer am able to properly care for our family cat. My kids (all under 10) barely acknowledge her, so I put an ad in the paper. A family called, came to see her one day and took her home with them while the kids were at school. I told them that "Frisky" was going to go to a new home, but I didn't know when until the day it happened. Now I'm the bad guy since the kids never got to say goodbye.
I contacted the new family and asked if we could come visit her to say goodbye. They reluctantly agreed but won't be available for a few weeks. Their young daughter has bonded with Frisky.
In your opinion, which is better for kids — to visit Frisky in her new home and say goodbye, or just let time heal this wound? — BAD MOM IN MINNESOTA
DEAR BAD MOM: Losing a pet is something children never forget. The pain of losing Frisky will heal more quickly if your children see for themselves that their pet has a home in which she's well taken care of and a family that loves her.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 63-year-old reader, widowed for eight years. I'd like to date and marry again, but I have one concern. Many men lose sexual potency with age. (I believe in waiting until after marriage.) At what point is it appropriate to address this issue? I don't want it to seem as if I wish to remarry only for sex. I might consider marrying for companionship if everything else was good, but I think it's something I should know before marrying. — KAY IN WEST VIRGINIA
DEAR KAY: I agree with your last statement. It's important to know what you're buying into before taking on the challenge of marriage. That's why, in order to avoid any surprises, you should ask your question as soon as the relationship starts to appear serious.
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.