DEAR ABBY: I met a man on a business trip recently. I'll call him Ray. We spent a little over a week together and had a wonderful time. After I returned home, we decided we'd try a long-distance "whatever." (It was never defined.)
The following weekend I paid to fly Ray here, and it was great. It seemed like things were heating up. Two weeks later I arranged a weekend getaway for Ray, myself, his son and the son's friend. Again, I paid for everything. Another co-worker had relocated there and joined us. We went to a sporting event, and when we reached the ticket window, Ray said he had only enough money to pay for himself and the kids. Naturally, I paid for my own admission. My co-worker said, "I can't believe you put up with him!" I ignored the comment.
When I got home, Ray told me he didn't like it when I said, "I miss you" -- so I stopped. The next day, he said he just wanted to be friends. (No problem.)
Last night, while we were online he switched screen names. I made a comment, kiddingly, "Trying to hide from me? (lol)" He went nuts! He sent an instant message that this is why he doesn't date, and if I want "secrets," then he'll keep a bunch of them. When I tried to respond, I found he had blocked my messages.
I am crushed. I feel like I have been taken for a ride. Don't you agree that I at least deserve some explanation? What would you do in a situation like this? -- STUPID WHEN IT COMES TO MEN
DEAR "STUPID": For openers, I'd erase his e-mail address from my computer. Then I'd take a long, hard look at what had happened since I met the man. Once you decided you liked him, you went overboard. You made all the arrangements. You paid for everything. When he backed off, you didn't.
I don't know whether or not he was trying to avoid you when he switched his screen name, but you may have hit the nail on the head. Next time, be less aggressive. Let the man do some of the pursuing. When something comes too easily, it often isn't valued.
DEAR ABBY: We are invited to a renewing of the wedding vows of a couple who have been married for 10 years. (They're a young couple in their early 30s.)
We are trying to figure out if we have to give them another gift, since we gave them one when they were first married. Please help us out. -- BAFFLED IN BROOKLYN
DEAR BAFFLED: Call the couple and ask if (and where) they are registered. This will give them the chance to tell you whether or not gifts are expected.
A "renewal of vows" could be considered a fancy anniversary party, and if you attend, you should mark the occasion with some sort of gift. It doesn't have to be expensive -- it could be a photograph of you and the couple with a short paragraph sharing a happy memory; something associated with their hobbies or interests; or a tree or plant for their yard.
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