Dear Abby: My son, “Jimmy,” is 8. His father and I are divorced, and his father is facing jail time. Jimmy sees him every other weekend. I’m planning on telling Jimmy the truth, although I’m sure his dad will want me to lie and say he needs to “work out of town” for a while, or something like that.

I know it will be hard for my boy to deal with. I also wonder what he should tell other people. I worry that if he tells his friends the truth (and they tell their parents), Jimmy might not be invited over to play quite as often, or kids will tease him. But I feel like it’s sending a mixed message if I tell him it’s OK to lie about this particular issue. How should I handle this?

— To Tell the Truth

Dear Truth: Jimmy needs to know that his mother tells the truth. If you lie to him about this, or anything else for that matter, when he learns the truth — as he will eventually — he will start to question the veracity of everything you have told him. This is a lot for an 8-year-old to deal with, I know, but I vote for keeping the boy informed.


Dear Abby: My boyfriend and I have been dating for two months. I think I’m being too clingy, but he won’t tell me if I am. He says when I ask for reassurance, it drives him away.

Every time we do anything remotely sexual, he tells me he feels guilty about it. He is sweet and caring. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I have never been so in love. I don’t want to lose him. What should I do?

— In Love in Illinois

Dear In Love: This may seem counterintuitive, but take a step back. Stop asking for reassurance. Because he says he feels guilty about doing anything remotely sexual, the next time he makes a move, be less willing. Tell him you don’t want him to do anything that he will be sorry about later, and remind him what he said the last time. It may improve your relationship because he appears to be immature and not ready for a romance.