Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Because your name is synonymous with good advice, we wanted to share with you and your readers some of Uncle Sam's best advice for today's woman.

The "Women's Consumer Survival Kit" is a free package of up to 20 federal consumer booklets tailored especially for women by the Consumer Information Center. This free package is designed to help empower women to take positive control of their lives. The booklets contain vital information for staying healthy, taking medicines, buying a home, investing, getting federal benefits and handling consumer complaints.

Abby, we appreciate your assistance in getting this valuable consumer information to your readers, but please tell them to place their orders now, because supplies are limited. -- TERESA NAVARRO NASIF, DIRECTOR, U.S. CONSUMER INFORMATION CENTER

DEAR TERESA: Your offer proves the truth of the saying, "The best things in life are free!" I have reviewed the booklets you are offering, and they're chock-full of information on food and women's health, home and finance, Social Security and Medicare.

There are three ways to order the "Women's Consumer Survival Kit":

1. Call toll-free: 1-888-878-3256 weekdays 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time, and ask for the Women's Consumer Survival Kit.

2. Send name and address to "Women's Consumer Survival Kit," Pueblo, CO 81009.

3. Go online to check out and order it through the Consumer Information Center's Web site at While you are there, you can read, print out or save any publication on the site for free.

Readers, the survival kits will be sent at no cost to you -- no postage, no fees. God bless America!

DEAR ABBY: My fiance, "Ric," and I share a home and a child, and very soon a marriage certificate. When his best friend was married last fall, Ric was asked to be a part of the wedding party. However, when the invitation arrived, I was not included. I took his suit to the cleaners for the rehearsal party, picked up his tuxedo, shopped for the wedding gift (which cost more than expected), and sat at home with our son all weekend while he participated in the festivities, without complaining.

Since the wedding, his friend and his new bride have invited Ric to participate in various other outings with them -- and, you guessed it -- they have conveniently forgotten to include me, or to even acknowledge that I am a significant part of his life.

I have since told Ric that their lack of tact bothers me, but he continues to participate solo, I continue to sit at home and wait, and his friends continue to exclude me. Am I wrong to be hurt by this inconsiderate behavior, or to feel as if he has betrayed me by letting this continue? -- TIRED OF BEING TAKEN FOR GRANTED, NORFOLK, VA.

DEAR TIRED: Since you share a home and a child together, it should have been clear to your fiance's friends a long time ago that he is in a committed relationship. And that means you should have been included in the invitations. You are being treated with disrespect and lack of consideration.

The person to blame for this is Ric. It is long past the point where he should have made clear to his friends that you are a couple, and if they want his company, you are part of the package. Ask him why he has allowed you to be excluded, and why he is socializing without you. Listen closely to his answer. If Ric isn't willing to put a stop to it now, you'd be wise to rethink marrying him, because I predict he'll make your future miserable.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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