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by Abigail Van Buren

Boyfriend's 'Bill' Could Cost His Girlfriend's Trust

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of one year and I have been going through some turbulent times these last several weeks, and at one point we decided to part ways. I was shocked when he handed me a "bill" totaling $1,393.

I admit there were amounts on there that I had told him I would pay back -- but it only added up to half of his total. Amounts like $5, $10 and $20 that I thought he had given in unconditional good spirit were listed on there under months and exact dates throughout the entire year we had been dating. For example, he would say, "Here, Hon, put some gasoline in your tank." I have helped him out monetarily from time to time, but I never expected that he was keeping track of what he was giving me, much less that he'd ask for it back.

Now we're trying to mend our relationship, and I can't get that "bill" out of my mind. He said he wrote it up and gave it to me because he was mad. Now I have a hard time accepting anything from him. I even wonder if this relationship is worth mending. What is your advice? -- CONFUSED IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR CONFUSED: Your boyfriend may have acted in a moment of anger, but he did not compile his detailed ledger on the spur of the moment. If you are looking for a generous man, keep looking. This one is not above using the purse strings to try to control you.

DEAR ABBY: We hear so many horror stories concerning children of divorce, it might be encouraging to hear of one where both parents handle the situation very well.

Since the divorce seven years ago, the two children (now 11 and 13) have been in the custody of their mother. Of course, the father has visitation rights. Never has either parent said anything derogatory about the other. The two have always lived in different areas -- now Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio -- and each has initiated phone calls to the other for the children.

When the mother (my daughter) goes to her Air Force reserve duty in Dayton, the children stay with their father, and occasionally, she, too, stays there. Similarly, when the father and his wife come to Cleveland to see the children, they have stayed at my daughter's home -- as have his relatives.

Last Christmas, they had the greatest arrangements, demonstrating what exemplary parents they are -- the new wife included. During the Christmas vacation, the girls spent several days with their father, then on Christmas Eve when he brought them back to their mother's home, he and his wife stayed overnight, so they could all share Christmas morning with the children.

Abby, wouldn't it be wonderful if more divorced couples could handle the situation so well? -- GRATEFUL GRANDMA IN FLORIDA

DEAR GRATEFUL GRANDMA: Some do, but unfortunately, most do not.

DEAR ABBY: In your tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., you said: "In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. King's principles of nonviolence were based on the teachings of Christianity."

Abby, Martin Luther King had to go to India to learn the principles of nonviolence, because they were neither understood nor practiced in the United States.

The civil rights movement in the 1960s reminds us of how violent white Christians really are. They are as violent as Muslims and Jews, if not more violent. Remember, we have had nearly 5,000 lynchings in our history. Christians proclaim brotherly love, love for your neighbor, peace on earth and other notions -- but they often do not practice them. -- HUGO BORRESEN

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