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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Dick," has a best friend who is married to a woman I dislike more every time I see her. "Ruby" makes nasty remarks about Dick in front of me. Frankly, I don't understand why because Dick has made a wonderful life for me and my son. He has given us many things, including a beautiful home -- which Ruby doesn't have. Among other things, she calls him a "male chauvinist." It happens almost every time they talk. Dick doesn't seem to mind, but I do.

They bring their large family to stay with us once a year for a week without my permission, but with Dick's permission. He is only too happy to comply. Ruby says she "just loves our home," and assumes she's always welcome.

I'm sure it would be a rude awakening for Ruby to discover she isn't exactly my best friend. Why is it that people today think everyone is their friend, and they can just stay in your home because it's on the way to somewhere? Sometimes I think they stay here not so much because they like our home, but to avoid paying for a motel.

By the way, I haven't exactly made it pleasant for them. Sometimes I don't change the linen in their "guest room." I have talked to Dick about their staying for four days instead of a week, but he seems to think it's fun to have them stay the whole seven days. Your thoughts, please. -- HAD IT WITH RUBY

DEAR HAD IT: You are blaming the wrong person. Since you have told your husband how you feel about having this couple as houseguests, and he refuses to compromise by reducing the length of their visits, he is the one responsible for your discomfort.

Ruby may have a point. A man who disregards his wife's feelings in what should be a joint decision, could, indeed, be considered a "male chauvinist." However, if you resent hearing Ruby challenge your husband, take her aside and tell her privately how hurt and angry it makes you to hear it. In all probability, that will put an end to it.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 28-year-old divorcee. I have been divorced for three years and have found it very difficult to find "Mr. Right." About eight months ago, I was introduced to someone I thought was perfect. He is 30 years old, has never been married -- no children -- and is very set in his ways. He doesn't smoke, drink or do drugs.

However, he does keep me up all night. He snores, grinds his teeth and makes all kinds of funky noises in his sleep. Also, I find him very needy and clingy, and sometimes it gets on my nerves.

I want to try to make it work, but then again I don't. I like being with him; however, I would rather live alone and enjoy my life. I don't want to hurt his feelings, but I really don't see a long-term future with this man. Frankly, I am bored with the relationship. What should I do? -- CONFUSED IN GEORGIA

DEAR CONFUSED: What you are describing is ambivalence. Before you make any hard and fast decisions, you'd be wise to talk to a counselor to determine whether your feelings might be related to your divorce and/or a fear of commitment. If they're not, let this eligible man go so he can find a woman who appreciates him and can live with his imperfections -- and you can find a man who's closer to your ideal.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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