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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Wants to Open Door Wife Shut on His Family

DEAR ABBY: I never thought I would be writing to you. My wife, "Annie," does not care for my family, so we spend every holiday with her family. She says my family lives "too far away" to visit, although hers lives only a few miles closer.

Annie and I are happy together, but shutting out my family completely is starting to bother me. I think of them on holidays and their birthdays and would like to share these times with them. I try to discuss this with Annie, but she always says, "We'll talk about it another time" -- then she always initiates sex. (I just realized this.) It does take my mind off the discussion for the time being.

Have you had letters from anyone else who neglected his family because of his spouse and later regretted it? -- "SAM" IN PITTSBURGH

DEAR SAM: Yes, I have heard from many readers who deeply regretted not spending more time with their families while they were able to. (Especially parents.)

A large part of a loving marriage is compromise, which may mean spending time with people because they are important to one's spouse. The next time you discuss this with Annie, point this out, take a cold shower and keep talking.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 22-year-old single woman, independent and very nice-looking -- so I am told. For two years, I was seeing a married man who was separated from his wife. He said he and his wife were trying to work out their problems with a counselor for the sake of their three kids, but he was still very much in love with me. I sent him back to his wife and family.

I took a month's vacation to try and forget him. Now I'm home, and he is on the phone trying to get me to see him. I don't want to see him because he is a very convincing man and I don't want to start up with him again. On the other hand, I really love him. Half of me wants to see him again, and the other half tells me I shouldn't. I need your advice as soon as possible. -- IN LOVE IN NEW MEXICO

DEAR IN LOVE: Listen to the half with the brains in it, and tell him to stay with his family.

DEAR ABBY: Is there a universal sign of apology? There are many universal rude gestures known by everyone, but I often wish I had a signal saying "I'm sorry."

For example, if I were daydreaming at a red light and the driver behind me had to honk the horn, how could I let that driver know that I'm sorry? Other examples: splashing someone on the sidewalk, or misjudging the distance in passing so the other driver had to slow down.

Perhaps this "I apologize" sign would work if you absentmindedly jostled another person in a multilingual area, and you weren't sure which language to apologize in.

If there isn't such a sign, maybe you should invent one. You have enough readers. Perhaps we could create a more polite environment. -- SMALL TOWN IN NEBRASKA

DEAR SMALL TOWN: A smile, a salute, a nod, or just a plain "Oops" with the appropriate facial expression would do.

To get Abby's booklet "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a long, business-size, 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. (Postage is included.)

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