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DEAR ABBY: One of my girlfriends is dating my ex-boyfriend. They just had a kid, and he started flirting with me. I'm not in a relationship, so I flirted back. Now I'm getting bullied nonstop because people say I'm gonna break them up. But shouldn't they be mad at him more than me?

Why is everyone jumping down my throat? I didn't do anything with him. It was just words. Either way, he's the one in the relationship! He shouldn't have done it in the first place, and yes, I admit it was wrong on my part, too. But not as wrong, right?

I need help, because I go to a small school, and everyone here wants to jump me now. It's hard to concentrate on work with mean comments getting shouted out at me. I've said my "sorry's" to everyone. Even though it's none of their business. -- HE'S WRONG, RIGHT?

DEAR HE'S: It should be apparent that your ex-boyfriend still feels the need to prove to himself that he's attractive to women, which makes him no prize. You were right to apologize to "everyone." (I hope the first apology was to your girlfriend.)

There is an unwritten rule that you're not supposed to date your friends' exes, and frankly, this is the reason for it. I can't stop your classmates' judgment of you, and neither can you. But you can hold your head high and tell them you have learned a lesson.


DEAR ABBY: I am on a self-imposed strict diet to try to curb my weight. Often when my spouse and I are invited to a couple's house, I will ask what they are serving and let them know about my diet. Is this rude? Would it be more rude to say nothing and eat beforehand?

I have fallen into the pitfalls of overeating, and I'm afraid that if I let myself splurge for even one night it could spiral. It has happened before. The last time was at a party where all they had was pizza. When I politely declined, the host joked that "I was too good for their food." Was I wrong? -- STAYING STRONG IN TENNESSEE

DEAR STAYING STRONG: It's not rude to bring the fact that you are watching your weight to your host's attention when you are invited. A considerate host should ask the guest if there are any food allergies, restrictions, etc. If that doesn't happen, it's all right to inform the host if there are foods you need to avoid. If guests prefer to lessen the temptation to pig out by eating before going to a party, that's fine too.

P.S. As to that pizza party -- were you warned in advance what kind of party it was? If not, your host was extremely rude to call attention to the fact that you weren't eating and to ridicule you by "joking" about it. Now that's tacky!


The Year of the Rooster

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MY ASIAN READERS: The Year of the Rooster begins today. I'm wishing a happy, healthy new year to all who celebrate it. People born in the Year of the Rooster are trustworthy, work well on a schedule and are responsible at work. They are also observant, active, resourceful, courageous and talented. Roosters are confident in themselves. They enjoy the spotlight, but can appear vain and boastful when they "crow" about their accomplishments!

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