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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: In the continuing saga of how men are different from women, let me share this with you.

Peter, my significant other, was involved in a men's counseling group. One of the topics about which they were to report back during their next meeting was "What Women Want From Men in Their Relationships." Members of the group discussed reading the "Women Seeking Men" personal ads to get a better understanding of what women want. (Pretty ingenious if you think about it!)

I told Peter he should do some home study and ask me. I explained that women need to feel loved, wanted, beautiful and needed by their partner. I was in the only bathroom of our home putting the finishing touches on my face, and I asked Peter if he thought he had recently met these qualities in our relationship.

His clever reply was: "I LOVED you last night. I WANTED you to make coffee this morning. You look BEAUTIFUL today -- and I NEED you to get out of the bathroom RIGHT NOW!"

May I add that one important quality women need from men in a relationship is HUMOR. Humor makes anything possible -- and I thank the Lord that my darling has it in abundance. -- SUSAN IN SANTA FE, N.M.

DEAR SUSAN: Peter got his message across, so he is a skilled communicator. And because he's in a counseling group, it's apparent he's interested in personal growth. I think you've found a "keeper."

DEAR ABBY: My 10-year-old daughter, "Amber," stays home one or two hours by herself after school until I return home from work. She has rules to go by; however, she has been known to break them.

Amber answers the door when she shouldn't and leaves the door unlocked. She doesn't take seriously the bad things that can happen to her.

I have an idea that may put her in touch with reality. I'm thinking of asking a male friend to go to my house and knock on the door -- which I know Amber will answer. At that time, my friend would pretend to be a pushy salesman. He would insist on coming into the house and waiting for her mother. That's as far as I've gotten.

Is this a bad idea? I don't want to scare her into having nightmares, but I want her to know how important it is to be wary of strangers and to follow the rules. -- CONCERNED KNOXVILLE MOM

DEAR CONCERNED: Yes, it's a bad idea. I know it's tempting, but such a ruse would be dishonest and potentially traumatizing. When your daughter discovers you play "tricks," it might give her a false sense of security. Also, your credibility would be damaged for years to come, and your daughter would always wonder what kind of trick you would pull next -- and I wouldn't blame her.

DEAR ABBY: If you think your husband is cheating with another woman, do you think it's all right for the wife to ask the woman if she's having an affair with her husband? -- WIFE OF A WANDERING HUSBAND

DEAR WIFE: Absolutely. And who knows? She may be delighted to give you chapter and verse.


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