Dear Abby:

I met a man on a business trip recently. I'll call him Ray. We spent a little over a week together and had a wonderful time. After I returned home, we decided we'd try a long-distance "whatever." (It was never defined.)

The following weekend I paid to fly Ray here, and it was great. It seemed like things were heating up. Two weeks later I arranged a weekend getaway for Ray, myself, his son and the son's friend. Again, I paid for everything. Another co-worker had relocated there and joined us. We went to a sporting event, and when we reached the ticket window, Ray said he had only enough money to pay for himself and the kids. Naturally, I paid for my own admission. My co-worker said, "I can't believe you put up with him!" I ignored the comment.

When I got home, Ray told me he didn't like it when I said, "I miss you" -- so I stopped. The next day, he said he just wanted to be friends. (No problem.)

Last night, while we were online he switched screen names. I made a comment, kiddingly, "Trying to hide from me? (lol)" He went nuts! He sent an instant message that this is why he doesn't date, and if I want "secrets," then he'll keep a bunch of them. When I tried to respond, I found he had blocked my messages.

I am crushed. I feel like I have been taken for a ride.

Don't you agree that I at least deserve some explanation? What would you do in a situation like this?

Stupid When It Comes to Men

For openers, I'd erase his e-mail address from my computer. Then I'd take a long, hard look at what had happened since I met the man. Once you decided you liked him, you went overboard. You made all the arrangements. You paid for everything. When he backed off, you didn't.

I don't know whether or not he was trying to avoid you when he switched his screen name, but you may have hit the nail on the head. Next time, be less aggressive. Let the man do some of the pursuing. When something comes too easily, it often isn't valued.

Dear Abby:

I am a 35-year-old wife, mother of two small children and caregiver to my mother. My husband has asked me to consider relocating to a distant state so he can advance in his career. I have no problem with it. I know I can start a life there, and I believe in supporting my husband.

The problem is Mom. She's confined to oxygen and is unable to enjoy the life she once knew. Nobody visits her. She just sits in her room, claiming to be too sick to do anything. When I told her we'd had a discussion about moving, Mom became extremely upset. I told her we love her, that she's a valued member of our family, and we would want her to come with us.

Mom says it's wrong of me to even ask such a thing of her. She says she's so hurt she feels like she has been kicked in the stomach. I should add she has panic attacks due to traveling.

I have talked to her about everything we will do to ensure her safety and comfort. My husband is growing resentful of her. I have begged her to be open-minded, but she's very negative.

What should I do?

Dutiful Daughter

Get your mother's doctor involved.

She needs counseling, and possibly medication for depression and her panic attacks. While you're talking to the doctor, inquire about what arrangements can be made if your mother chooses to remain where she is.

Since you have already invited your mother to go with you, the choice where she wants to live is now hers.

She could live for years -- and her health should not determine your husband's career choices.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate