DEAR ABBY: I retired to Malaga, Spain, after my marriage of 38 years ended in divorce.
I have gone to dinner with a few men since moving here. This is a lovely community with many retired residents from all over Europe and the U.K.
My problem is, after a few dates, they assume that because they bought me dinner it entitles them to sex. I am fit and fairly attractive, but I may be out of touch on dating.
These men have implied to others that we did have sex, and now single and married men are calling me. The only way they could have gotten my number is through these men.
I have tried to make light of this, but I’m worried that when my sons or grandchildren visit next month, they will hear something that isn’t true. How do I stop this nonsense without causing hard feelings?
NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL
DEAR NOT LIKE THAT: What has been done to you is vile and disgusting. Someone you refused to have sex with has retaliated with the equivalent of writing your phone number on a bathroom wall.
Tell your sons now what has been going on so they will be prepared when they visit. And if you accept any more invitations, make clear in advance that you will be paying for your dinner yourself.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been trying to have a child for nine years with no success. We have been through 14 rounds of fertility drugs, only two of which were successful, and neither one produced a child.
My husband wants me to stop treatments because he doesn’t like what the medications do to me, and I have agreed to stop because I think my body is just too tired.
But, Abby, all of me wants to be a mother. Must I give up, or should I keep trying even though it might lead to further heartbreak?
MATERNAL IN WASHINGTON
DEAR MATERNAL: Listen to your body. It may be time to consider other options than fertility drugs. These include fostering, adoption or hiring a surrogate to help.
These are subjects to pursue, first with your husband, then your physician and possibly an attorney who specializes in adoption law. And don’t forget, it isn’t unheard of for some women who adopt to later become pregnant without medical intervention. I wish you luck on whichever path you choose.
DEAR ABBY: My son is getting married for the third time. I paid for half of his first wedding and also gave a generous gift. I gave him a significant cash gift for his second wedding. Do I give him and his new bride yet another cash gift?
They are planning a small wedding overseas, which I won’t be attending. All have been — or will be — first weddings for the brides. I don’t want the new bride to feel slighted, but on the other hand, it’s getting really expensive for me.
They live a nomadic life, so material gifts would not be appreciated by them. What’s a perplexed mother to do?
DISGUSTED MOM IN FLORIDA
DEAR MOM: Write them a check and hope the third time is the charm for your nomadic son. Then tell him you’re closing your checkbook.
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.