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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Holds Hostage Wife's Diary of Teenage Memories

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Robby," and I are having an argument about my teenage diary. About seven years ago, I discovered that Robby had been keeping a lot of photos and letters from his exes in boxes. I wanted him to throw them out and have continued to press the subject. His excuse has been that he "doesn't have time."

Last week when I brought it up, Robby went into our bedroom, took out my old diary and said it was the same thing as the box of letters. He insisted I should throw it out because it contains entries about exes and sexual experiences. I don't think it's the same thing. Robby took it anyway.

I am heartsick that I no longer have my diary. I don't know how to make Robby understand that the book is a part of me. I don't keep it to read about my exes. I keep it for the information about family members, friends and the thoughts I recorded as a teenager. Abby, I kept that diary from my freshman year of high school until the first weeks I started dating Robby.

What can I do? -- SENTIMENTAL IN SAN ANTONIO

DEAR SENTIMENTAL: The first thing to do is recognize that your husband has a valid point. Next, offer to declare a truce on the subject of mementos of times gone by. Then ask him to return your diary.

P.S. If Robby has already disposed of it, then his photos and letters should go, too. However, I have a hunch he is still holding onto it and is trying to teach you a lesson in fairness.