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Parents wonder about son’s friendship

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 should'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 did’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 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.