DEAR ABBY: Man wants to let friend know he’s dating an ex

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DEAR ABBY: I am a 40-plus-year-old single male. I recently started hanging out with one of my friend “Tom’s” ex-girlfriends. It is now turning into more than friends. “Pam” and I both have feelings for each other. She and Tom dated for five months and broke up eight months ago.

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Do I owe it to Tom to ask his permission or tell him I’m seeing her? Pam has asked me to not say anything and to let him find out on his own, which will happen because we have many mutual friends. I want to respect her choice. But also, as Tom’s friend, I feel the right thing to do is tell him. Please advise. I’m stuck between her wishes and doing what I think is right. — STUCK IN THE MIDDLE IN IOWA

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DEAR STUCK: Have a talk with Pam. Explain that you are not sure how Tom will react if he sees the two of you arm-in-arm with no warning. He may not care, but he also could be upset that you are dating and hid it from him. Then tell Pam that, in light of your friendship with Tom, you prefer being upfront because it’s respectful and you don’t like keeping secrets.

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DEAR ABBY: My mom died a couple of years ago and left behind many collectibles that are worth reselling. I am the oldest of five children and have spent the most time and effort moving out her collection, with a lot of help from two of my siblings, “some” help from one and absolutely none from another one.

In her last days, Mom mentioned not to “forget about the gold.” She had collected some scrap gold that I sold for $900. I have been sorting through the remaining inventory with no help from any of my siblings. Is it wrong of me not to share that cash with them? — OVERWHELMED SIBLING

DEAR OVERWHELMED: If you truly felt comfortable pocketing the money, you wouldn’t be asking me this question. Listen to your conscience and share the proceeds from the sale of the precious metal with your siblings. To leave one of them out would guarantee an estrangement.

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DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine was asked to leave a restaurant after the check had been paid because people were waiting for tables, and he was highly insulted. My position was that it was courteous to leave because people were waiting to have their dinner. He felt the waitress had no right to ask their party to leave. What is your take on this? — COURTEOUS IN THE EAST

DEAR COURTEOUS: I consulted Priscilla, operations manager at my favourite restaurant in Beverly Hills, about your question. She explained that some restaurants have a 90-minute time limit for diners to leave the restaurant. (For larger parties, it can be up to 120 minutes.)

My take on this is that rather than making it the responsibility of the server to ask your friend to give up the table, the MANAGER should have come over and done it. It needn’t be an unpleasant exchange. A manager may sometimes offer the patron a seat at the bar and a free drink or dessert in the name of good customer relations.

— 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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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