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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: When I was 20 and still living at home, I got a tattoo I never told my parents about. I am now 25, married, and have never regretted it.

When Mom was visiting recently, she saw my tattoo. What followed was an eight-hour attack on my "bad morals, low self-esteem and corrupt character."

I never knew a small picture of a butterfly could cause so much trouble. The scene with Mom got so bad that my husband and I finally decided we'd had enough. We packed her suitcase, took her to the airport, and happily paid to get her on the next flight home.

Now most of my family is involved in the fight and everyone is taking sides. It seems there's no end to this. Did my husband and I make the wrong call by sending her home? -- POOR LITTLE BUTTERFLY IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR POOR LITTLE BUTTERFLY: In your mother's day, tattoos were not accepted as they are today. She overreacted to your tattoo. Now take the high road: Apologize for sending her away and head off World War III.

DEAR ABBY: Last year our 18-year-old son, "Tommy," started dating a young lady from his community college. I'll call her June.

From the start, my husband and I liked June. On occasion we would take her and our son out for dinner or to a family function. June and I shared many interests and became good friends.

Six months later, Tommy announced that he was breaking up with her because their relationship was going nowhere. I was disappointed but accepted his decision.

Now Tommy doesn't want me to be friendly with June. He won't speak to her and will not allow me to mention her name in his presence.

What should I do? June seems to enjoy our mother/daughter relationship, and so do I. -- TORN-UP MOM IN MILFORD, OHIO

P.S. Tommy has not yet moved on to another girl.

DEAR TORN-UP MOM: From the way your son is behaving, there's more to the story of the breakup than he has revealed to you. Although you may yearn for a daughter, June isn't going to be her.

Allow your relationship with June to cool a little. If you don't, your relationship with your son will suffer. His feelings should take priority.

DEAR ABBY: Eighteen months ago, I discovered that "Steven," my husband of 27 years, had been secretly visiting "Blanca," the girl he wanted to marry 30 years ago. Since then, I have been talking to Blanca's husband, "Eric," and have fallen in love with him.

The affair has ended for Steven and Blanca, but Eric and I still talk several times a week.

Abby, should I stay with Steven? I'm tempted to leave him after what he has done. -- GETTING EVEN WITH STEVEN

DEAR GETTING EVEN: I don't blame you for wanting to get even, but if you're asking my permission, the answer is no. The fact is, neither you nor Eric is really available.

Before making any final decisions, try marriage counseling to see if you can rebuild a loving, trusting relationship with your spouse. That way, fewer people will be hurt.

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 $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600