Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Wally," and I have been friends for several years, and a couple for nearly two. He recently brought up the subject of marriage, and we agreed that we are likely altar-bound.

Only one thing gives me pause. A few months ago, Wally got plastered and had a fling with a female friend. He regretted it immediately and said it was what made him realize I am "The One." (He is getting help for his drinking now.)

The problem is, the woman is still pursuing him. She buys him gifts or brings him vegan meals. He has asked her repeatedly to stop, to no avail. Because Wally is a vegetarian and I'm not, I suspect she's trying to prove she would be a better partner for him.

I have asked Wally to cut off contact with her, but he won't. He feels bad for her because she has few friends and lives in an isolated little town. What do you suggest I do? -- UNWILLING TO SHARE

DEAR UNWILLING TO SHARE: Raise the subject of marriage with Wally again, and tell him his continued contact with the woman he cheated with is hurtful to you and a threat to your relationship. Ask how he would feel if you continued to see and accept gifts from a man you'd had a drunken fling with. If he says he wouldn't be thrilled, perhaps he'll be able to understand your reaction to what's going on. If he says he'd be fine with it, then Wally isn't the man for you.

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DEAR ABBY: My 13-year-old niece, "Amelia," is a beautiful young girl. She has only two flaws -- she lies constantly and she's boy-crazy. I have to listen to my sister talk on and on about how hard it is to trust her. My sister and brother-in-law have set many rules and limits for my niece. I think her punishments for breaking rules fit the crime -- grounding, having things taken away, etc.

Amelia knows she can't have a boyfriend until she's 16. Lately, she keeps trying to get boys' phone numbers and meet with them. She has also been caught sexting three times and lying about it. As her punishment this time, my sister and her husband shaved Amelia's head. I am shocked and devastated for my niece. I think it was extremely inappropriate.

When I try to talk to my sister about my concerns, she tells me she had no choice because her daughter had so many warnings. I don't know what to do. I think my niece will need counseling. My sister says I am overreacting. Am I? Or did she? -- WORRIED AUNT IN UTAH

DEAR WORRIED AUNT: Amelia's parents went off the deep end. What was done to her was awful, and you are not overreacting. Instead of shaving her daughter's head, your sister should have tried to understand why she is lying and desperately seeking attention from boys.

If I ever heard of a family in need of family therapy, it is your sister's. Love, attention and less draconian punishments are what Amelia needs, not months of public shaming.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband committed suicide 20 years ago. He left a note, but I never shared it with our children, as they were very young at the time. They are all happy, successful adults. Should I share the note with them? I still have it. -- ANONYMOUS DOWN SOUTH

DEAR ANONYMOUS: Your children are probably curious about why their father chose to end his life. Let them know the note exists, share it with them if they would like to see it and answer any questions they may have. They have a right to know.

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