DEAR ABBY: My preteen son is friends with a boy I don’t quite approve of, but I understand that sometimes bad decisions lead to future wisdom. When I can, I allow the friend to come to our house to hang out with my son because this friend allegedly has a difficult home life.

During this last visit, I noticed them hanging out a little physically closer than usual. They shared the same recliner to play video games, talked to each other using gamer tags and the like, and had what I assume were numerous inside jokes.

My husband and I would never belittle, degrade or denounce our children for being gay. We know we’re from a bygone era, and we do not assume our particular values are held by our children. We have discussed it and know how to approach it from our perspective if our son announces his orientation. I’m not even certain my perception of his closeness with his friend is accurate.

My husband is more worldly than I am, and he says this kind of behavior is not unusual in the EU. Neither of us wants to address this ahead of anything occurring. We will love our son regardless and support him throughout our lives. I don’t want to make him feel singled out by what may be usual pubescent behavior. My husband and I are in our 30s/40s. We live in an extremely rural area, and this is my son’s only real friend. Any insight would be appreciated. — WONDERING ON THE FARM

DEAR WONDERING: You may be jumping to conclusions unnecessarily. Sitting close to play video games and sharing inside jokes with a best friend are not necessarily signs of being gay. It is what best friends that age do. Whatever your boy’s sexual orientation may be, you say you will love and support him regardless, so this shouldn’t be a problem. His sexual orientation will reveal itself in its own time.

DEAR ABBY: Please help me figure out whether I’ve made a major mistake. I’ve been dating this man, “Frank,” for six months. He has another woman in his life that he told me he’s only a caregiver for, but then I learned he has been taking her to the lake and out to dinner.

After that, I found out she used to be a prostitute and lived with him for a few weeks and that he has been offered sex by her. He went into a panic when she was in the hospital and he didn’t know where she was. He swears up and down that it’s me he loves, not her. Help, please. — COMPETING IN GEORGIA

DEAR COMPETING: Do some digging. Who is the source of the information you are being given? Is that person a reliable source, or could there be an ulterior motive? For a caregiver to “go into a panic” if his patient disappears would not be unusual.

And, while it’s possible that he is driving to the lake and going out to dinner in his role as a caregiver, if the person paying the tab is him, then it’s a date, and he hasn’t been truthful with you. I would be interested in what you find out. Please write back and let me know.

DEAR ABBY: A friend of 40 years got mad at me after the last presidential election. I told her I didn’t want to talk politics, since we voted for different candidates. She then emailed me saying she thought we should take a break from our long-distance phone calls. We had been calling each other every two weeks to catch up.

Because it has now been more than a year, I emailed her, texted her and finally left a message on her answering machine asking if she was still mad. (I did this over a period of a week.) Then I got worried, since she’s in her 80s. I finally called her daughter and was told she was in the hospital recovering from heart surgery. When her daughter told her I was trying to get in touch, I received a text that read, “Not mad. Just don’t want to talk.”

I hate to give up on a long friendship. Her birthday is coming up. Should I send her a birthday card, or respect her wishes and give up? — OLD FRIEND IN FLORIDA

DEAR OLD FRIEND: Please don’t jump to conclusions. People in the early stages of recovery from major surgery may not feel up to long discussions until they are stronger. By all means, send your friend a birthday card and include in it that you treasure your friendship and wish her a speedy and complication-free recovery. After THAT, the ball is in her court.

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to a lovely woman for 40 years. I recently found out that five years into our marriage she had an affair with a friend of ours. It lasted several weeks, during which they would meet at our house over the lunch hour.

My wife does not know this friend, having recently found religion, has confessed to me. I had suspected it for a few years. Should I tell her I know or just go on as though nothing happened? — IN THE KNOW IN ILLINOIS

DEAR IN THE KNOW: I cannot guess what justification this “friend” has given for trying to clear his conscience by telling you something that could destroy your marriage. The punishment for his guilt should have been the burden of carrying it to his grave without sharing it with you. If his confession will erode your relationship with your wife, tell her what you were told so you can talk it through.

DEAR ABBY: My neighbor’s husband died of COVID-related problems. I was never officially informed. About a week later, his clothing, favorite chair and other items were put on the curb in a free pile. While the pile is now gone, my concern is for the people who took the items. I will let you inform the world what might be the better solution. — PANICKED IN OREGON

DEAR PANICKED: I am glad to do that. The information is available to anyone who is interested. Folks, it’s as near as your computer. Fire it up and go to, where you will find a “Frequently Asked Questions” section with information about how the virus is spread and how to avoid contracting it. From what I have read, germs on surfaces are less likely to spread the virus than person-to-person contact.

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