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DEAR ABBY: I am a 45-year-old single mom. My last romantic relationship ended more than a year and a half ago, after he cheated on me. I have not been out on any dates or anything, and I am a hard-working mom.

I recently met in person a guy I have been talking with for over a year. He has been here to visit, and my son, who is 14, told me that my mother -- his grandmother -- has asked him if this guy and I were sleeping together.

Can you please tell me how to handle this, as my son does not want me to let his grandmother know that he has told me this?

I have been very proud of myself for spending time alone for more than a year, getting to know myself and not settling for whatever comes along. I am appalled that my mother would, first of all, ask my 14-year-old son that question, and second, that she can't just for once be happy that I have someone in my life, even if the person is not up to her standards -- which never could be met in the first place. Please help me with this. -- UPSET IN DANVILLE, KY.

DEAR UPSET: I don't blame you for being upset. Your mother's question was out of line.

You and your mother are overdue for a face-to-face visit. While you're together, ask her if there are any questions she would like to ask you "woman to woman." I don't know whether she will have the nerve to ask you what she asked your son, but she should be made to understand that your son does not keep secrets from you -- and if she has any questions about your sex life in the future, they should be directed to you, and you alone.

DEAR ABBY: The granddaughter of a close friend of mine canceled her wedding plans, for justifiable reasons. No invitations had been sent, so there were no wedding gifts to return, as I know is proper.

About nine months ago, my friend had an elegant engagement celebration for her granddaughter and the then-fiance, and although it was just supposed to be a great party for all of us who love this girl and her grandmother, everyone gave gifts, either monetary ones or items from a bridal registry.

The guy made off with all the money and the gifts. There is no legal way the girl can get them, and yet her grandmother and, I guess, the girl herself feel that everything from that engagement celebration should be returned to us. So they are trying to do it themselves.

I, for one, told them to forget it, because there was a party and there was an engagement, but some of our mutual friends said that they should, in one way or another, repay those who gave. Is it necessary to return gifts, or is it just adding another financial burden to an already strapped girl -- as well as a lot more grief in trying to come up with replacements for things long gone? -- NO NAME, PLEASE

DEAR NO NAME: The "rule of thumb" is that gifts that have not been opened and/or used should be returned. However, because the gifts were, in essence, stolen from your friend's granddaughter, she is not obligated to replace them or the money.

This is a time for understanding on the part of your mutual "friends," not petty grousing. Rather than subjecting herself to this kind of stress, the granddaughter should thank her higher power that she didn't marry that scoundrel. (She dodged a real bullet!) Her time would be better spent getting over this trauma, rather than paying off the people who attended the party.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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