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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Like most of your readers, I never thought I'd be writing to you, but I'm at my wit's end.

I am a 38-year-old married woman. My husband doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't fool around, is physically fit, great in bed and not afraid to shower. He works at a full-time job, as well as a part-time job, and he's an equal partner in the area of child care. So, what's my problem?

This man has never admitted he was wrong about ANYTHING in the 13 years we've been married! He has never apologized for any thoughtless thing he's done, has never acknowledged that anything he's ever said has caused me pain or embarrassment, and refuses to admit that this isn't normal.

When I let him know this really bothers me, he'll joke and say, "Someday, if I'm ever wrong, I'll apologize." I'll admit that my response is usually a smart-aleck insult, but I think that after all these years of being married to Mr. Perfect, I'm entitled.

I love this guy, I really do. But I don't think I can bear to spend the rest of my life with a man who thinks that my feelings are unimportant. I'm not usually one to hold a grudge, but since he won't apologize about anything, I stay angry at him much longer than I should about inconsequential things. Short of divorce, what do I do? -– FRUSTRATED

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Your husband is a 9 on a scale of 10 –- and that's a pretty terrific score. When he says something hurtful or embarrassing, perhaps you should be slower to make a "smart-aleck" comment, and instead let him see an honest reaction. It would make it more difficult for him to joke his way out of an apology.

P.S. Believe it or not, the inability to admit one is wrong is a sign of insecurity.

DEAR ABBY: The poem you printed, "Cocaine," really hit home because I have a daughter who got hooked on it, and she has destroyed the lives of everyone around her.

Enclosed is a letter from her 11-year-old daughter. I wish you would print it; maybe my daughter or some other parent will see it and realize how their drug use is affecting the families they leave behind. -– CAROLYN IN ALABAMA

DEAR CAROLYN: Your grandchild's poignant letter is well worth space in this column. Read on:

"Hello, my name is Candi. I'm going to tell you what drugs did to my mother. She left me, my dad and my brother who is only 2 years old. He cries at night for her. Sometimes I cry, too. My dad is really hurt. Me and my brother will grow up without a mother.

"Well, you heard what drugs will do to people. So, please -– don't do drugs."

DEAR ABBY: Since Sen. Gramm's letter appeared in your column, congressional offices across America have been bombarded with requests for flags flown over the Capitol. This is great! It's wonderful to see so many patriotic citizens wishing to display Old Glory.

Unfortunately, the prices Sen. Gramm quoted were out of date. Those who wish to obtain a flag should contact the local office of their congressional representative or senators for a list of the correct prices so delivery will not be delayed.

Thanks, Abby. Once again, you've provided a great service for your readers. –- A CAPITOL HILL READER

DEAR CAPITOL HILL READER: Thank you for setting the record straight. Readers, your telephone directory lists the telephone numbers for the local offices of your representatives and senators in the section titled "U.S. Government."

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a 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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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