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by Abigail Van Buren

Boy's Concern With Death Gives His Mother Pause

DEAR Abby: I dated "Carter" for five months. During that time, he bought me all kinds of presents, from flowers to tires for my car. I never asked Carter for anything. In fact, I told him twice that there were "too many presents." He responded that I was insulting him, and told me I should just accept them graciously and say thank you.

I tried to reciprocate by doing things for him. I would cook him dinner every time he came over, and give him fresh produce from our garden. I even loaned Carter my car when his was in the shop.

Now that we are broken up, he is demanding that I return all his gifts and pay him $300 for the tires or he will sue me. (I have proof they were gifts, and given with love.) I feel Carter is wrong. Should I give him back the things and pay him? -- SORRY I EVER MET HIM IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SORRY: Once a gift is given, it belongs to the recipient to do with as she (or he) wishes. However, in this case, since you now know they were intended as strings to bind you to him, it might be better to return them and be rid of him once and for all.

P.S. He can sue you if he wishes, but whether he could WIN is another matter. I hope for his sake he won't decide to try.