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Q: My daughter's former lover, "Beau," is my age. (She is 20 years younger.) She was married when she and Beau had their affair, and still is. She regretted the affair, but continues to keep him as a friend. She introduced us a few years ago.

As their affair dwindled to a friendship, Beau and I began to have an interest in each other. As I started to see him in a different light, my family got upset.

Are they overreacting, or is this so strange that I should stop the relationship? It does creep me out a bit, but Beau is such fun to be with that I don't dwell on the past. Would it be extremely weird to date your daughter's ex-lover? Your thoughts, please.

Having A Ball Down South

A: Let me put it this way: It would be highly unusual. I'm all for having a ball, both down South and up North. But I wish you had mentioned exactly who in the family finds what you are doing "upsetting." If it's your daughter and her husband, you should seriously consider the consequences of continuing the romance because it could not only put a damper on future family gatherings, but also create a permanent rift between you and your daughter and her family.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips. Find columns at

Universal Press Syndicate

More to love?

Q: I have been married to my husband for 10 months. This is his first marriage and my second. I have a 12-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son from my first marriage. When my son was born, I decided I was done having kids. I had one of each; it was perfect.

My new husband doesn't have kids of his own and would like to have a chance to raise a child from birth - either a biological child or an adopted one. He's a good dad, and I know he would love to have a baby. I just feel like it would be an injustice to my kids - not to mention unfair to another child because of not only the age difference, but the bond my children have with each other. At the same time, I would love to share that experience with my husband. I feel torn, and I don't know what's best.

Can't Decide in Boise, Idaho

A: I hope you realize that this is something you and your husband should have thoroughly discussed before you married him. From my perspective, it is clear that YOU do not want another child. If you did, you would realize that the "bond your children already have" is capable of being expanded, and that they might love to have a much younger baby brother or sister. Love isn't something that's rationed. The more there is, the more there is.

It's all up to you

Q: What are some ways that people can improve a negative self-image, improve their self-confidence and be more positive in their interactions with other people?

A.J. in Salt Lake City

A: I'm glad you asked. Allow me to offer a few suggestions:

(1) Stop and consider what caused your negative self- image. Then begin taking positive steps to improve your body, soul and intellect.

(2) If you feel yourself reverting to a poor self- image, remind yourself of what you are doing and why.

(3) Reach out and do something for someone who is less fortunate than you are. It's a guaranteed upper.

(4) Avoid people who make themselves feel better by making others feel less so.

(5) Count your blessings every single day, and make up your mind to be happy. People are usually as happy as they are determined to be.