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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband believes an apology is required only if the action requiring one is intentional. For example, if my husband opens the windows and then turns on the sprinklers, allowing water into the living room, he thinks he doesn't need to apologize for causing the ensuing mess because he didn't do it intentionally.

I believe an apology is necessary, not just for an accident, but for anything that causes inconvenience to another person.

What are your thoughts? -- IRRITATED IN IRVING, TEXAS

DEAR IRRITATED: It seems you have married someone who's a little rough around the edges. If your husband opens a window, turns on the sprinklers and causes your drapes, furniture or carpet to become wet, he owes you an apology for the inconvenience he caused. To do otherwise implies an insensitivity to your feelings. My question would be, Is your husband also this way when it comes to other things?

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 28-year-old woman. In the past, many men have cheated on me. I have been dating a wonderful man for three years now. Things would be great if I didn't always worry about him possibly cheating, too. When I can't find him, I panic. I always think the worst, then I wind up confronting him and upsetting him.

I can't seem to get past the feeling that one day he will also be unfaithful. I wish I could trust him, but I'm afraid to be made a fool of again.

Is being with this man hopeless? -- ALWAYS SUSPICIOUS, JAMAICA, N.Y.

DEAR SUSPICIOUS: Your problem is less that you feel you can't trust your boyfriend than that you can't trust your own judgment. As the 49ers learned more than a century ago, you have to sift through a lot of gravel before you find a gold nugget, and it's the same with dating.

You appear to have finally picked a winner. Please give him the benefit of the doubt before your insecurities cause you to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter will be 16 in a few weeks. My problem is I can't seem to let her go anywhere unless an adult is present. It's not that I don't trust her, because I do. It's her friends. I love my daughter very much and wish I could trust her to make the right choice, but a friend could cause her to make the wrong one.

I think I am too strict with her, and I need to give her some running room, but I'm scared to. She's a good kid and makes good grades. What should I do? -- CAN'T LET GO, RIPLEY, MISS.

DEAR CAN'T: Part of being a conscientious parent is learning to let go. Recognize that in two years, your daughter will be 18 and legally an adult. Because she has shown responsible behavior, allow her doses of freedom in baby steps that will give both of you time to adjust to it.

Birds of a feather usually flock together, so unless you have specific reasons for being worried about the company she keeps, recognize that it's time to permit your daughter to use the good judgment you have taught her and allow her some freedom.

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