Dear Abby: I am the mother of a 5-year-old daughter I’ll call Mandy. Her father and I separated when she was 16 months old and now we are divorced. I am newly engaged to a wonderful man and very happy. I have just learned that my ex is having a baby boy with a woman he has stated he does not love and with whom he is not in a committed relationship.

I would like to protect Mandy from any pain this might cause her because she is a Daddy’s girl. How should I deal with this and maintain my composure regarding the sibling who will now forever be a part of my daughter’s life (and mine)?

– Stressed Out in San Diego

Dear Stressed Out: It is not appropriate to show your disgust with this situation to your daughter. Because your ex has gone on record that he doesn’t love the woman he impregnated, and he is not in a committed relationship with her, you may be worrying needlessly. He will have a financial obligation to his son, but whether he’s willing to be a father in the best sense of the word we don’t know.

If Mandy interacts with her half brother she will have to learn to SHARE, which is an important life lesson every child must learn sooner or later.

Sore after shake

Dear Abby: I work in the media and meet a lot of people. I have arthritis in my hands. I have always believed in a firm handshake, but I’m finding that receiving one is crippling my hand. I don’t want to appear unfriendly by not reciprocating a handshake, but I don’t want my hand to ache for hours on end after meeting someone. Any suggestions?

– Hurting in Dover, Del.

Dear Hurting: It would not be unfriendly to simply say, “It’s nice to meet you, but I can’t shake hands because I have arthritis.” Many people do, and it’s the truth.

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