Dear Abby: "Kyle" and I have been good buddies for 10 years. The problem is I'm crazy about his younger sister. She and I have been talking over the last few months. Kyle knew we were talking in the beginning, and he told her to stay away from his friends. I think I understand his reasons, and I tried to talk to him on my own.
Kyle said he doesn't want to deal with me calling him eventually about problems that may arise between me and his sister.
Now when I hang out with her we have to be secretive. I would like to be open about being with this awesome girl. Can you please help me? —JOHN IN PENNSYLVANIA
Dear John: Kyle's reason for not wanting his sister to involve herself with any of his friends is a selfish one. He is not his sister's keeper. Her parents are. If you like her, find out from them if it's OK to hang out with her. But stop sneaking around because it's childish and reflects badly on both of you. And if there are any problems, refrain from taking them to Kyle.
Dear Abby: I grew up disliking a lot of things about my mother, but the main thing was how she treated my father. I still don't like it.
Now I realize I have started treating my husband the same way sometimes. He says it doesn't bother him and everything is fine in our marriage, but I lie awake at night worried about how I'm treating him. Situations come up, and before I can stop myself, I say something I wish I hadn't. One of my husband's friends noticed it and mentioned it.
I married a wonderful man, and I don't want to put him through what my dad endured. What can I do? —SEEING A PATTERN
Dear Seeing: It's not unusual for children to model the behavior of their parents, even when the example isn't a good one. You will need to learn to self-censor before you open your mouth in stressful situations. One way to do it is, before snapping, ask yourself, "Is this true? Is it helpful? Is it kind?" However, learning the tools to create new patterns of behavior isn't easy — and you may need the help of a licensed counselor in order to overcome the patterns of a lifetime.