DEAR ABBY: I have been talking to my ex-boyfriend of more than 22 years. We have a grown son. We are now in our 50s and talking and texting again. I still love him, and I want a relationship with him, but I'm not sure he wants me back. I don't know if he's interested in me or just being friendly.\u00a0 Can you help? At the end of our last phone call he said, "It's been a long time. Twenty-two years. We are both different people now. I don't know if it could be like it was then," and we said goodnight.\u00a0 Should I wait for him to text me back? I don't even know if he's dating someone. He didn't say. Please help.\u00a0 \u2014 SECOND CHANCE IN THE EAST DEAR SECOND CHANCE: Continue talking to your ex and let this scenario play out further. Is he initiating these calls and texts, or are you? If it's him, that's a hopeful sign. Yes, it is true you are both different people now \u2014 but that can be a plus. With the passage of time, you both may have mellowed and matured. If the discussions continue, you will find out soon enough if he's involved with someone or interested in getting back together. And remember, if he's just being "friendly," the son you share is a good reason for keeping that friendship going. DEAR ABBY: My wife is very protective of our dog, "Spencer." I agree with her that Spencer should not receive table food. Yesterday, my wife put a large pile of dog vomit on my desk. She said it "proves" I have been feeding Spencer. Her accusation is not true.\u00a0 I may have done some peculiar things in my time, but I have never put vomit on someone's desk. How should I respond?\u00a0 \u2014 FLABBERGASTED IN IOWA DEAR FLABBERGASTED: There can be various reasons for a dog having an upset stomach besides having consumed table scraps. Spencer should be checked by a veterinarian to be sure there isn't something else going on. As to your wife putting vomit on your desk, well, since you asked \u2014 I wouldn't blame you if you made it plain that SHE is in the doghouse.\u00a0 DEAR ABBY: When someone gives a gift to someone, shouldn't it be opened in the presence of the giver? My 12-year-old daughter ran cross country, and after the season ended, there was a banquet. At the banquet, several kids approached the coach and gave him cards. We gave him a gift certificate. When my daughter gave him the envelope, he laid it down with the other cards and said, "thanks." I think he should have opened it and read the contents while my daughter was standing there (my daughter would have been so pleased). What do you think?\u00a0 \u2014 LISA IN COLORADO DEAR LISA: Once a gift is given, it belongs to the receiver to do with as he or she pleases. Your daughter's coach was under no obligation to open the envelope in your daughter's presence. If he recognized the envelope contained more than good wishes, he may have wanted to spare the other athletes embarrassment if they could not afford to be as generous as your family. Dear Abby: Mom remains chummy with son's ex DEAR ABBY: My brother dated an alcoholic for years. "Jenny's" drinking progressively worsened to the point we could no longer have a conversation with her. She was a sloppy, emotional drunk and lied about her drinking to my brother. He finally became unhappy and recently broke off the relationship. His adult children, our dad, my husband and I are supporting him and encouraging him toward more healthy relationships. We are proud of him for making this move.\u00a0 The challenge is our mom, who is a daily drinker. She misses her drinking buddy and continues to hang out with Jenny. My brother has told Mom it makes it harder for him to make a clean break, but she continues to meet regularly with Jenny.\u00a0 I told Mom I have chosen not to contact Jenny because it hurts my brother. Mom responded that she will continue to see her, and that they don't talk about my brother (not true), so she can't understand the problem. Are we unfair for preferring a clean break for everyone?\u00a0 \u2014 GOING FORWARD IN THE WEST DEAR GOING FORWARD: You are not unfair, but this isn't your decision. It is your brother's and your mother's. Of course she doesn't want to give up her drinking buddy! You stated that she drinks every day. One of the warning signs of alcoholism is when someone's drinking disrupts relationships. Your mother's drinking is now negatively affecting her relationship with her husband, her son and you.\u00a0 Because it appears she's unwilling to give up her drinking and gossip sessions with Jenny, it might be helpful for the rest of you to attend some Al-Anon meetings and learn to cope with this. You will find meetings are available online and almost everywhere if you visit al-anon.org\/info. DEAR ABBY: My mother, who died recently, wasn't subtle about favoring my younger sister. My sister, "June," is grief-stricken and talks about our mother positively \u2014 a lot. Our mother was cruel to me at times, and June knows it, but she continues to talk glowingly about her. I want to say to her, "She may have been an angel to YOU, but she was a b\u2014\u2014 to me my entire life," but, of course, I don't. I would just like to forget all about her.\u00a0 When June does this, I usually remain silent. I want to be supportive, but at the same time, I think my feelings are important and should be respected. What should I do?\u00a0 \u2014 GRIEVING LESS IN WISCONSIN DEAR GRIEVING LESS: When your sister starts up about what a wonderful mother your abuser was, remind her, as tactfully as you can, that you didn't benefit from the same treatment. Then express that, while you sympathize with her loss, you no longer wish to discuss your mother with her. If she needs to vent about her sadness and loss, she should do it with other relatives or close friends or join a grief support group as many people do. After that, if she raises the subject again \u2014 as she may \u2014 shift the topic to something else. 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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.