DEAR ABBY: Last summer, after 24 years of marriage, I finally summoned the nerve to take my teenage daughter and leave my emotionally abusive husband. We are both thriving now.
I have been in therapy, lost almost 45 pounds and have rediscovered my self-confidence. A friend I have known for more than 10 years has expressed interest in dating me. I like him, but I'm not sure if it would be appropriate to date yet. What do you think?
- Tentative in Massachusetts
DEAR TENTATIVE: Tempting as this is, proceed with caution. When a person has been emotionally starved for a long time, then begins to feel attractive, accepted and validated again, the result can be euphoria. Right now you need to be rational.
What I think is less important than what your therapist thinks. Make this question a priority during your next sessions because the insight you'll gain will help you not only in a relationship with this man - if you decide to have one - but in future ones as well.
DEAR ABBY: My 86-year-old dad buys all his food from the markdown "quick sale" tables, then lets it sit in the fridge for weeks or even months before he eats it. He insists the mold is penicillin and good for you. He has a turkey in the freezer that expired in 2008.
Dad reads your column every day, so please give me some input. By the way, he isn't poor and can afford good, fresh food.
- Perplexed Daughter in California DEAR PERPLEXED: Your father is a product of his upbringing during the Great Depression; the habits people form when they are young can be hard to shake. One reason that perishable products have a "sell by" date is that the food begins to lose its nutritional value. As to your father's excuse that he's ingesting "penicillin" - I'm sure his doctor would prefer he get it by prescription only.
Spoiled food can cause serious illness. Visit foodsafety.gov and print out some of the "Food Safety at a Glance" charts for him.