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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am 30 years old and an art teacher. My fiance (I'll call him Jack) and I live together in my home. Every Tuesday night, he goes out to the clubs with his friends and returns at 3 or 4 a.m. It has bothered me for a long time and I've told him so, but I haven't issued any ultimatums.

Last week after Jack left, I was feeling particularly lonely, so I phoned the club and asked him to come home, telling him I had heard noises and was frightened. He seemed annoyed but he promised to be home by midnight.

I then called a girlfriend to vent some steam and she came over. As we talked, we began to scheme, and finally decided to give Jack a good scare by making him think I had been robbed while he was away. I sat in a kitchen chair giggling while my girlfriend tied my arms behind me and gagged me. She used enough rope to restrain a bull, so it was very convincing. She left at 11:30 and I waited (I couldn't do anything else) for Jack to return.

He did not return by midnight. By 1 a.m. I began squirming, but I couldn't get loose. When he finally did return at 1:30 a.m., I was in such a fury that he had difficulty untying me. He was very upset and insisted we call the police, so I had to tell him it was a hoax. That made him furious.

Jack apologized for returning late and thinks I should apologize for the stunt. I refused, and he has barely spoken to me since. Should I apologize? -- FIT TO BE TIED

DEAR FIT TO BE TIED: Yes. There are more mature ways to get your point across than crying wolf on his night to howl. If you're seriously considering a future with Jack, you must come to some agreement about his night out with the boys. Since you find yourself at loose ends on that night, rather than lying to him, consider signing up for a night class, or establishing your own Tuesday night out with friends.

DEAR ABBY: A year ago, I asked my fiance's sister to be the maid of honor in our wedding. I felt it was important to make sure his family didn't feel left out, as we live five states apart.

Abby, my sister-in-law will be getting married later this year. She has asked my husband to be an usher, but I have been excluded from the wedding party. My in-laws and I have had some tense moments. I feel this is a slap in the face, and I can't seem to shake the feeling.

Should I say anything to my in-laws about how hurt I feel? My husband and I come from two very different backgrounds, so I'm afraid it would not be well received and would cause more bad feelings. Sign me ... ISOLATED IN VIRGINIA

DEAR ISOLATED: A bride's attendants are not chosen to repay the honor of having been chosen to serve in another's wedding. As a general rule, a bride chooses her best friends or sisters to be in her wedding party.

Do not complain to your in-laws, and don't take this so personally. Your sister-in-law probably has enough close friends or sisters to fill the party and was unable to accommodate you. Perhaps she will choose you for some other duty, but if she doesn't, please don't let this dampen family relationships. Give her the benefit of the doubt and rise to the occasion.

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