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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: "Roger" and I have been married more than 40 years. I feel we have a good marriage.

We have recently retired and moved to the city where Roger grew up. There's a lady here I'll call "Mitzi." Roger dated Mitzi all through high school and was engaged to her for at least three years after that. From what I can put together, they had a very intimate relationship. Mitzi sent Roger a "Dear John" letter while he was in the military, which I assumed he probably deserved. (I was in no way involved.) Mitzi has been married to the same man for more than 40 years.

Over the past four decades, we have attended the same social functions about six times. Each time, she and Roger always seem to visit at least 15 or 20 minutes, and while he's talking to her he completely ignores me. In fact, he turns his back on me as though he's ashamed of me. Do you think there is any unfinished business between them?

I would like to give him a surprise birthday party. Because of the people I will be inviting, it will be necessary to also invite Mitzi and her husband. My question: If there's still some kind of spark, would I be asking for trouble? -- CONCERNED IN FLORIDA

DEAR CONCERNED: If there were still a spark, the fire would have flared up before now. The odds are against Mitzi's stirring up the embers of an old flame she doused 40 years ago.

DEAR ABBY: I hope you can settle an argument my wife and I are having. We recently went away for a long weekend. While we were away, we let my wife's sister and brother-in-law use our house because they were visiting our city that same weekend.

I like my in-laws very much and had no problem with their staying in our home. However, before we left, I locked my desk, which contains personal and financial papers.

My wife says this was a personal insult to her and her family because my actions implied that I thought they might snoop or they couldn't be trusted alone in our house. I say I have the right to lock up personal papers without owing anyone an explanation. In any event, the only way my in-laws would have discovered that the desk was locked was if they tried to open it, which they shouldn't have.

Your thoughts, please. -- SECRETS IN SAN ANTONIO

DEAR SECRETS: I see nothing wrong with locking up personal items or papers if you are having houseguests. A host has the right to keep certain things private, and a desire for privacy should not be interpreted as a lack of trust or an insult. You were generous to have shared your home. You should not be required to share personal and financial information as well.

DEAR ABBY: My last suitor was upset when I told him I didn't want to continue our relationship because he was a lousy lover. He said, "What do you mean I'm a lousy lover? How can you tell in just two minutes?"

If women would stop faking orgasms, Abby, maybe men would begin to get a clue that lovemaking is a partnership activity. -- BEV IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR BEV: I agree. And candor is essential for that partnership to be successful.

DEAR ABBY: I think people should be reminded that:

"He who comes forth with a fifth on the Fourth

"May not come forth on the Fifth!"


DEAR L.A. CRAWFORD: Thanks for the timely reminder. Your verse is a "first."


Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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