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Best Love Advice From Dear Abby

In Memoriam: The Best Love Advice From "Dear Abby"

We're happy to present this story from one of our favorite sites, YourTango. Today we're gleaning some wisdom on love from America's most iconic advice columnist.

Her name was Pauline Friedman Phillips, but you might better recognize her as "Dear Abby."

She wrote under the byline Abigail Van Buren for almost 50 years, offering answers to some of our most compelling questions about everything from smelly spouses to disastrous dates. She went by Abby among family and friends (plus 90 million or so devoted readers) her entire life and she died last week at the age of 94.

Phillips started out as an advice columnist back in 1956 when she was a stay-at-home mom of two. She contacted the editors at the San Francisco Chronicle after reading an advice column that ran in the paper, boasting that she could do a much better job.


"They gave her a bunch of letters, thinking that they would never see her again — and she immediately took all of the letters to my dad's nearby office and whipped out answers and had answers back the same day," her son, Eddie Phillips, told Good Morning America. "That knocked them off their feet."

Even though she stopped writing some time ago (she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease), her legacy lived on in her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who took over the column in 2002. The columnist was always modest about her star status as a writer, which is what made her so relatable as America's most iconic advice columnist.

"I don't pretend to be an authority on journalism or on human relations," Phillips said. "I just happen to be a very happy, a very healthy, a very lucky young woman with a fascinating hobby."

In honor of Abby, dug up some of her best words of wisdom on love and relationships — and some of them are real zingers!

  1. Dear Abby: I am a 29-year-old woman who has married and divorced the same man three times in the last 10 years. Our last divorce became final three weeks ago, and now Mike is begging me to marry him again. We have no children, and we don't want any. Abby, the only time he is decent to me is when we're divorced. He's a wonderful lover but a rotten husband. He's a boozer and a cheater.

    If I told you how much we've spent on lawyers, you would think we were out of our minds. I love the guy, but I know if I marry him again he'll go back to his old abusive ways. Can you help me? — Three-Time Loser

    Dear Loser: Three strikes, and a man is out, no matter how good his pitches. Some men are great to date but not to mate, and Mike could be one of them.

  2. Dear Abby: My husband hates to spend money! I cut my own hair and make my own clothes, and I have to account for every nickel I spend. Meanwhile, he has a stock of savings bonds put away that would choke a cow. How do I get some money out of him before we are both called to our final judgment? He says he's saving for a rainy day. — Forty Years Hitched

    Dear Hitched: Tell him it's raining!

  3. Dear Abby: My boyfriend is going to be 20 years old next month. I'd like to give him something nice for his birthday. What do you think he'd like? — Carol

    Dear Carol: Never mind what he'd like. Give him a tie.

  4. Dear Abby: Are birth control pills deductible? — Kay

    Dear Kay: Only if they don't work.

  5. Dear Abby: Our son was married in January. Five months later his wife had a 10-pound baby girl. They said the baby was premature. Tell me, can a baby this big be that early? — Wondering

    Dear Wondering: The baby was on time — the wedding was late.

  6. Dear Abby: My husband sleeps in his underwear. He wears the long woolen kind, and he sleeps in the same underwear he's worn all day. The problem is getting him to change it. Abby, there are four sets of clean underwear in his drawer, but he won't put on a clean pair without a fight. I can't even get the underwear away from him to put in the wash. Don't tell me to grab it when he's in the bathtub. He doesn't bathe much either. Please help me. He's getting pretty ripe. — Holding My Nose

    Dear Holding: Look at it this way. You don't have to worry about another woman stealing him. And he's easy to find in the dark. But if you want action, try begging, bribing, nagging, and leaving! And in that order.

  7. Dear Abby: I know boys will be boys, but my "boy" is 73, and he's still chasing women. Any suggestions? — Annie

    Dear Annie: Don't worry. My dog has been chasing cars for years, but if he ever caught one, he wouldn't know what to do with it.

  8. Dear Abby: What's the difference between a wife and a mistress? — Bess

    Dear Bess: Night and day.

— Allie Churchill

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