DEAR ABBY: For 17 years I have been using the same hairstylist, "Marietta," because she does great cuts and color. She's married to my cousin "Gil," but not for long. They're divorcing.
Gil's mother suggested I should find a different stylist, but when I did, I had horrible results. I returned to Marietta and it took her several appointments to correct my color.
Some family members are now furious with me for getting my hair done by someone who is soon to be a relative's ex. I look at it as a business. I like what Marietta does for me. We never discuss the divorce. Family is now demanding an apology, and I don't think I owe one. I haven't been close to any of these people in years.
Must I say I'm sorry to distant family and discontinue Marietta's services? Or should I say nothing and continue my professional relationship with her? My roots are beginning to show again, so please answer quickly. -- SNIPPED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR SNIPPED: Tell Gil's mother to stay out of your hair. You tried leaving Marietta; it was a disaster -- and you plan on using her until the day you curl up and dye.
DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of three grown children. I have a good marriage, a successful career and a close relationship with my two younger children.
My problem involves my oldest daughter. She has been emotionally unstable and verbally abusive to me since her 20s. I have reached my limit of patience with her. We had a terrible fight three weeks ago, and she hasn't spoken to me since.
Abby, these have been the most peaceful weeks I have had in a long time. Am I a terrible mother? Is there such a thing as separating from a child? I am tired of always being the peacemaker with no effort on her part. What do you suggest? -- PEACEMAKER IN KENTUCKY
DEAR PEACEMAKER: Refusing to be abused by an adult child does not make you a terrible parent. I don't know what caused the fight between you and your daughter. If you caused it, then you owe it to both of you to offer an apology. If she caused it, then put your white flag away and enjoy the respite because sooner or later she'll be back. (Probably when she needs something.) Only she can fix what's wrong with her, but you can reduce your level of stress if you keep your distance.
DEAR ABBY: I was involved in a fatal car accident in 2012. Two of my best friends died. There is a void in my heart. They were 15 and 18. I feel so much pain over the loss of my friends, and it is never going to end or hurt less. Their families hate me, which is to be expected.
I am in prison and feel so depressed. Time here seems to barely move. How do I deal with this pain and my sentence? -- IN JAIL AND HURTING
DEAR HURTING: If possible, use your time in prison to complete your education. If there are classes, take them. If there is a library, use it. You can make the walls around you disappear if you lose yourself in the pages of a book. Try it, and you will see that I'm right.
DEAR ABBY: My in-laws double dip everything. During a holiday get-together, a family member stood eating out of a pot. Now my M-I-L informs me her daughter allows her dog to eat off the plates, but "she uses a dishwasher" so I shouldn't worry about germs.
How do I handle this? I can't eat there again. -- GROSSED OUT IN GROSSE POINT
DEAR GROSSED OUT: Eat before you go, and go as infrequently as possible.
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