DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were invited to a dinner party at a couple's home. We accepted the invitation with pleasure, only to be told afterward that it was going to be a "potluck."
My husband and I were raised to never go to someone's home empty-handed, so we were happy to bring a dish to contribute to the meal. When I called the hostess to ask if we could bring dessert or perhaps an appetizer, she informed me that the menu had already been planned and we were assigned a side dish neither of us had ever heard of. Then she told me she would email me the recipe.
Abby, I was shocked and, frankly, offended. I would never tell a guest what to bring and what recipe to follow. When my husband told me he was willing to give the dish a try, I told him I would not attend a dinner party where I was commanded to bring a specific dish.
My husband stayed home with me that evening, but says he can't understand what the big deal was. Was I wrong to refuse to participate? Or should I have gone along with the program and kept my mouth shut? -- LOST MY APPETITE
DEAR LOST: Having accepted the invitation you should have gone to the dinner, taken the side dish and made the best of it. You may have missed out on a memorable and enjoyable evening.
DEAR ABBY: I was in a passionate relationship for three years with my first real boyfriend. We were very young and desperately in love. I adored him completely, without hesitation. Then we had some irreconcilable differences and parted.
I went though a period of self-reflection and didn't date again for almost four years. During that period, I thought and prayed. Then I met someone special, "Zack." We have been seeing each other for five years now, and our relationship is solid. It's wonderful in every aspect -- except that I am not in love with him.
We plan to be married in six months. I'm not sure if it's the right thing to do though. I have hesitated for years despite pressure from my family.
I enjoy spending time with Zack more than with anyone else. We understand each other and he knows me so well that it's uncanny. We're compatible with the same interests and similar beliefs.
Zack knows that I love him but am not "in love" with him, but he still wants to marry me. Is it wrong to marry your best friend? -- UNSURE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR UNSURE: No, it's not wrong to marry your best friend. But because you have reservations about marrying Zack, you should be honest and break the engagement. It will be less painful for both of you and far cheaper than divorce.
DEAR ABBY: The grandfather of a friend recently died. The sister of this friend and I had dated not long ago. I would like to send a condolence card to the family. Would it be proper to send one card addressed to "The Smiths" or should I send a card to the family and a separate one to "Lisa" (the woman I dated)? -- JAY
DEAR JAY: You are a thoughtful person. A letter or card of condolence should be sent to the family, and a separate condolence should be sent to Lisa.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)