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by Abigail Van Buren

Friendship Is on the Rocks Over Case of Wedding Wine

DEAR ABBY: My new husband and I had a beautiful wedding and reception in our home last September. We left our home with the caterers and their staff to clean up and clear out our guests. Two of the wedding guests took it upon themselves to invite our families and other friends to their home after the reception. We considered it a nice gesture since we were leaving the next day for our honeymoon and had said our goodbyes to everyone.

Upon our return from our honeymoon, we learned that the couple had also taken it upon themselves to remove a case and a half of wine from our home! Several people, including the caterers, saw them take it. This couple also became intoxicated and were quite rude to the family and friends they invited to their home. My husband and I feel violated. They have never mentioned taking the wine.

What is the appropriate thing to do in a situation like this? We're not sure we want to continue a relationship with a couple who stole from our home. Please advise. -- VIOLATED IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR VIOLATED: Your friends appear to have an alcohol problem. They probably felt that since they were entertaining your guests and the wine was left over, you wouldn't mind if they used it. They may not have considered what they did to be stealing. If they have been close friends in the past, give them the benefit of the doubt this time.

DEAR ABBY: I love my boyfriend dearly. He's my soul mate. However, he does something that really bothers me. He goes into my e-mail and other messaging systems. He claims it's to "protect me." (I am 50-plus and can take care of myself!)

If he's looking for signs of cheating, he will never find them. I don't cheat. I have nothing to hide from him. He knows my passwords and can log onto my PC whenever he wants. When he does, he's been known to misconstrue messages and get upset over them. This creates long, tearful discussions about why I didn't tell him this or that.

Abby, this is driving me crazy. Please help. -- CONFUSED VIRGINIAN

DEAR CONFUSED: Your "soul mate" is extremely insecure and controlling. Healthy relationships are based on trust. By invading your privacy and forcing "long, tearful discussions," he is putting you on the defensive. He's not trying to "protect you"; his demands to be told everything are control techniques.

Change your password to "takeahike!" Don't let him intimidate you -- make it clear you deserve your privacy. If he refuses to change, delete him from your life. You'll be doing yourself a big favor.

DEAR ABBY: Some months ago, you printed a letter from a reader who was disturbed that the spark was gone from her marriage. I asked my husband if the spark was gone from our 18-year marriage.

His response: "A spark lasts only a second. It lights a fire. When the flame burns down, we are left with the hottest part of the fire, the embers, which burn the longest and keep the fire alive."

I'm fortunate to have a great guy with a great mind. -- BETTY IN CAPE MAY, N.J.

DEAR BETTY: Your husband is wise indeed. He's right that the embers (mature love that outlasts the spark of infatuation) provide the glow that sustains committed relationships. The spark is only the beginning. Perhaps that wife should bask in the warmth of the embers instead of fretting over the missing "spark."

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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