Dear Abby: I have a very close cousin (and friend) who is in a toxic relationship with a man who breaks up with her repeatedly, manipulates and abuses her emotionally, and probably cheats. It has made me sad to see her go through the same pattern with him for so many years.

They were supposed to be married soon, but are having the same problems again. She’s unsure what steps to take, even though family and friends advise her against marrying him. I don’t support the idea either, but I don’t want to create a rift with my cousin.

If the wedding takes place, can I decline to be in the wedding party? Is there anything I can do to make her “see the light”? It’s hard to watch a good person go through this. I know it’s her choice, but it’s wears on our relationship, as well.

Concerned Cousin

in Wyoming

Dear Cousin: Have you been asked to be in the wedding party? You may be putting the cart before the horse.

Because you haven’t been able to get your cousin to see the light before this, I doubt anything you can say will accomplish it now because love is blind and often deaf. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell her you think she deserves better than what she’s getting, and that it pains you to see her hurt the way she has been. However, at the same time, let her know that whatever she decides, you love and support her and will be there for her, because if he actually marries her — which he may not — she’s going to need it.

Dear Abby: I recently started a new job, and the past three months have been great! One co-worker in particular has contributed to that. He’s a tall, handsome man with a great personality. We get along wonderfully, socialize outside of work, and we flirt … a lot. We’ve talked of being friends with benefits, but I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’ve never been FWB with anyone, and I’m nervous about the possible downside.

I am very attracted to this co-worker, but I also consider him a great friend who could potentially someday be even more than a friend. I am scared that being FWBs would ruin our friendship and any possible future we may have. Should I accept being an FWB and enjoy it while it lasts, or decline and explain to him why?

Friends Without Benefits

in Virginia

Dear Friends: If I were you, I’d enjoy the flirtation and pass on being his FWB.

While “friends with benefits” may seem enticing, what it really stands for is “sex without commitment or responsibility,” and in the majority of cases, it leads to — nothing. Couple that with the fact that if you do, and someone else attracts his attention, you will not only have to cope with hurt feelings, but also the embarrassment of still having to work with him. So start thinking with your head, and don’t do anything you might later regret.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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