DEAR ABBY: My stepson, who is 24, has Asperger’s syndrome. He is high functioning, very intelligent and has a great work ethic. He still lives at home, and I have noticed that he “must” touch his mother every day. There are times he stands behind her and strokes her hair and rubs her neck and shoulders. I think it’s odd and, to be honest, it kind of bothers me. It’s not a jealousy thing, it just strikes me as creepy.
I don’t think a 24-year-old should be caressing his mother that way. She doesn’t think it’s wrong, and when I mentioned it to her, she became offended. I know I may be wrong, and I try to understand that it may be part of his Asperger’s. Am I off base? Help me understand. — CREEPED OUT IN INDIANA
DEAR CREEPED OUT: What you are describing isn’t scandalous. It could simply be gestures of affection. Because your wife isn’t bothered by it, I suggest you calm down and stop reading more into it than there may be.
DEAR ABBY: My sister likes a childhood friend of ours and is hiding the fact that they are together, even though everyone in the family already knows they are living together. She clearly doesn’t want me to know, and always finds a way to not be truthful with me.
This guy and I were friends, but whatever my sister said to him made him cut our friendship off. I’m hurt that she needs to lie to me about their relationship, because it doesn’t matter to me. I’m happy she has found someone who makes her happy. She even has our mom covering for her. Should I say something, or just let it be? — HURTFUL AND SAD SISTER
DEAR HURTFUL: Did you and your sister’s boyfriend ever have a romantic relationship? If the answer is yes, it may explain your sister’s strange behavior and your mother’s willingness to cover for her. Because the cat is out of the bag and “everyone” knows the truth, I see no reason why you shouldn’t talk to your sister and clear the air. When you do, wish them well.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married to a wonderful, generous man for 33 years. Everything is great except for one thing. I have COPD. He’s sympathetic, but it goes only so far. An example: Today I was having a terrible coughing spell. I was in the bedroom. He was in the den, one room away. The spell lasted at least 30 minutes. Not once did he come in to check on me, ask if I needed anything, etc. It was as if we weren’t in the same house. After about half an hour, he did come in and said: “What do you wanna do this afternoon?” It really irked me. Am I making too much of this? — IRKED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR IRKED: Your husband may be “wonderful,” but he also appears to be a tad insensitive. He may have thought that as long as you were coughing, you were still breathing and didn’t need his help. Because his failure to grasp the seriousness of your predicament irked you, take the precaution of telling him — before your next coughing fit — how you would like him to respond, and why.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.