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Dear Abby 2/13
Dear old friend who's nursing grudge won't let go of pain
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    DEAR ABBY: When I recently moved to Ohio, I left behind a group of dear friends. One of them, "Cheryl," and I talk on the phone almost every night.
    Everyone in this group got along beautifully. We had great times and have fabulous memories of growing up together. Ten years ago, while I was away at college, the group had a falling out having to do with Cheryl. It was silly and childish — it was over a "boy." It was soon forgotten and apologies were offered. But Cheryl held a grudge and refused to speak to any of the others.
    Abby, more than a decade has passed. We're all married now, with kids and jobs. I love Cheryl dearly, but she refuses to reconcile. She's extremely sensitive, and the mere mention of the subject starts her whining about the "mistreatment" she endured.
    So even though I'm far away, once again, I must listen to her constant complaint that she has no friends except me. She's upset that I moved away. I'm tired of splitting my time between her and the rest of my friends when I return for a visit.
    How can I convince Cheryl that there is a group of girls who miss her terribly and just need her to grow up enough to forgive and forget? -- TORN IN DAYTON, OHIO
    DEAR TORN: Young girls can be very cruel. It would be interesting to know the details of what this group of "friends" did to Cheryl when they turned on her, because whatever they did left her unable to trust any of them again. If they really "miss her terribly," then they should be the ones telling her so — not you.
    Because her neediness and self-pity have become more than you care to handle, before you are turned off completely, you should let Cheryl know that you no longer want to discuss "ancient history." And because you appear to be her only friend — and a long-distance one at that — you'd be doing her a favor to suggest that she get counseling to help her move beyond the past.

    DEAR ABBY: I have met a man, "Alvin," who is the love of my life. He is divorced; I have never been married. Alvin has a 16-year-old daughter whom he adores, and she does not approve of our relationship. We want to be married, but he says it has to be OK with his daughter.
    If Alvin really loved me, would he let her stand in the way of our happiness? -- WAITING FOR APPROVAL, CHARLOTTE, N.C.
    DEAR WAITING: He might — if he felt guilty enough about the breakup of his marriage to her mother. My question to you is, do you love Alvin enough to postpone any wedding plans until his daughter approves, or is out on her own — whichever comes sooner?
    DEAR ABBY: I have something I would like to know just for the sake of curiosity.
    When my mother became pregnant with me, she was married — but not to the man who impregnated her. Does this make me a bastard? I am not going to be devastated if the answer is yes — I just want to know for the knowing. -- AM I OR AM I NOT, COSHOCTON, OHIO
    DEAR ARE YOU OR ARE YOU NOT: The answer to your question is no. Because you were born within the bonds of wedlock, you are as legitimate as the next person.
    P.S.: The term "bastard" went out of style at least two decades ago. A better term would be "love child."
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