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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband is national sales manager for a company that participates in frequent out-of-town trade shows. These events are held in luxurious hotels and involve entertaining clients in posh restaurants.

Lately, he has been inviting his secretary, who is half his age (and mine), to these shows -- even though she is not in sales and has no role there other than being agreeable to customers. That was formerly my role, but I seem to have been replaced.

Although she has women friends in the company, she regularly has lunch with my husband unless he is otherwise engaged. They share a small office where they chat about much besides business, including our personal life. Opinions I have confided in him get back to me through her other acquaintances.

I think that the relationship has passed from professional into intimate, but my husband says I'm crazy. He thinks only a sexual relationship is "intimate," but I think emotional intimacy often evolves into a sexual relationship, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Do you think I'm wrong? -- FEELING REPLACED IN ATLANTA

DEAR FEELING REPLACED: I think you are 100 percent right, and if your husband's secretary is accompanying him on business trips and assuming the role you once played, it may already have crossed the line. I have often said that the most erotic organ in the human body is the human ear -- and if he's filling hers with intimate details about your marriage, that in itself is a betrayal.

DEAR ABBY: Thank you for printing my letter about having been thanked for my service in the war, and for your supportive comments. It was reassuring to read them, for I was a bit concerned after writing to you -- it was such an impulsive act.

I had intended to send the letter to my local newspaper, but then I thought that if this gesture of thanks meant so much to me, it might be of comfort to veterans nationwide. The same day that the letter appeared in your column, I received two telephone calls from the East Coast!

Several letters and calls of thanks have been received since. The thought that many other persons may have read the letter and then taken the time to thank a veteran has been most rewarding.

I intend to respond to everyone who has contacted me. Abby, I believe that you and I have touched the heart and conscience of this nation. On behalf of those veterans whose services have been recognized, I thank you again. -- OSCAR ORTIZ, SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR OSCAR: I, too, believe your letter touched the heart and conscience of this nation. Since your letter appeared in my column, I have received many dozens of letters from veterans who have been thanked for their service to our country -- and the letters are still pouring in. They touched MY heart, each and every one!

CONFIDENTIAL TO 'CUTTING A FEW CORNERS' IN COLUMBIA, MD.: I'd advise against it. The saddest day in the life of a man is when he's sure he's discovered a way to make money without working for it.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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