DEAR ABBY: I am 68 years old and have been a widow for 10 years. The gentleman I am dating (I'll call him Jim) is 72 and has been a widower for seven years. We have been dating for five years.

Recently we attended the 50th anniversary party for some longtime friends of Jim's. After the dinner, the couple opened their gifts and read the cards aloud to the guests. Imagine my shock when Jim's card was read. He had signed it "Jim and Margaret" -- Margaret was his wife's name!

I immediately told him how hurt I was, and he said he saw nothing wrong with signing his deceased wife's name to the card. He said he and Margaret had been best friends of the honored couple for over 40 years, and he wanted to keep Margaret's memory alive in their thoughts through this gift.

I was deeply hurt by Jim's actions, both in signing the card as he did and having no regrets about doing so.

Abby, do you think I'm wasting precious time in this relationship? -- HURT IN CHERRY HILL, N.J.

DEAR HURT: Signing the card "Jim and Margaret" was indeed in poor taste in view of the fact that you and he have been dating for the last five years. He is living in the past. But before breaking off your relationship because of a single thoughtless act, ask yourself if you would be better off WITH him or WITHOUT him.

Add your comments to the discussion.

DEAR ABBY: I read your column faithfully and have a couple of suggestions that could be of great help to your readers.

1. The names of all medications should be written on a card along with the correct dosage, how many times a day it must be taken and what it is for. The card should be carried at all times.

2. No one should leave home without a typewritten note with his or her name on it, stating whom to notify in case of an accident. It should NOT be placed in a purse or wallet; it should be placed in a pocket, in case the person is unconscious or the victim of a violent crime. All too often purses, wallets and ID "disappear," and there is no way to identify the person, or notify relatives or friends what their medical problems might be. -- EUGENE J. CARADEUC, DALY CITY, CALIF.

DEAR MR. CARADEUC: It's wise for people to carry a medication card and a note for identification, but it's also imperative for those with serious medical conditions to wear a medical tag providing medical information and a telephone number where a more complete summary of emergency information is available. (Order blanks are usually available at local pharmacies.)

Add your comments to the discussion.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been having an ongoing "discussion" during the four years of our marriage. The disagreement involves who precedes whom when locating a place to sit upon entering a restaurant when a host/hostess doesn't seat you.

I am 49 years old and have always been preceded by my escort down the church aisle to locate a seat. He then steps back and lets me enter the pew first. The situation has always been similarly handled in eating establishments.

My husband believes that the woman always precedes the man in any situation. Who's right? -- JEANNIE ROBERTS, WILDERSVILLE, TENN.

DEAR JEANNIE: Your husband. According to Emily Post and Letitia Baldrige, the woman precedes the man in both situations.

In a restaurant, the lady precedes the man to the table and seats herself, or waits for her escort to pull her chair out for her.

In church, she sits in the selected pew, then slides over for her mate or escort.

Add your comments to the discussion.

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

Add your comments to the discussion.

More like Dear Abby