DEAR ABBY: I am a 30-year-old woman who is deeply smitten with a close friend I'll call "Andy." He often tells me about other women he's interested in. As his friend, I am more than happy to listen to his troubles and offer advice. At the same time, it's not always easy to hear about these women because of my feelings for him.
Do you think that once someone is in the "friend zone" it's possible to move beyond that? Or am I doomed to a lifetime of being "the friend"?
— WANTING MORE IN NEW YORK
DEAR WANTING MORE: You are not "doomed to a lifetime of being the friend" unless you aid and abet the "perp." Your problem is you are making yourself too available. It's time to start developing other interests and other relationships. What Andy needs is a chance to miss you. And if that doesn't happen, you will have already moved on.
DEAR ABBY: Our daughter is 33 and living in another state. We haven't seen her in three years. Her life has been going steadily downhill since high school, her periods of employment are becoming shorter and less frequent. She calls more often than before because she needs money.
We have urged her to get therapy (we have no idea what her problems are) and have offered to pay for it.
My wife and I know we can't influence our daughter to change her life, but we agonize when we think about her wasted life. We have mourned loved ones who have died and have been able to move on, but every morning I think about my daughter, and my heart breaks a little more each time. Is there help for parents like us who need to let go?
— ANGUISHED DAD IN VIRGINIA
DEAR DAD: My heart goes out to you. Yes, there is help, and it is the same kind of help you offered to your daughter. As much as you love her, until she is ready to accept that she needs professional help to get back on track there is nothing you or anyone can do.
Alcoholics Anonymous meetings close with something called the Serenity Prayer. It applies to many people in many situations, and it may bring some comfort to you. It reads: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Rick," and I own a small business with a partner, "Mike," who is in his late 40s and a confirmed bachelor. He constantly invites my husband out to dinner, ball games, drinks, etc. without ever including me. Rick always declines.
I think this is rude. Am I being overly sensitive? Do you think he's trying to show my husband what he's missing?
— IGNORED IN THE SOUTHWEST
DEAR IGNORED: I don't think you're being overly sensitive. Because this is happening repeatedly, the implications are insulting. If Mike had any degree of social sensitivity he would realize — after many turn-downs — that your husband prefers socializing with you to boys' nights out.
As to Mike possibly trying to show your husband what he's missing, I don't know. What IS he missing?
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.