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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My son says I scold him so often it has given him a complex. He constantly loses things -- coats, lunch boxes, expensive toys, games -- and damages property such as computers, my furniture, etc. He doesn't do it on purpose. It "just happens" (I think) because he is clumsy and heavy-handed, sort of a bull in a china shop.

He often bumps into people -- including me -- and never says "Excuse me," or even appears to notice. At first I would speak to him about these incidents and make him apologize, but after a while I lost my patience and started getting angry. His behavior has continued through high school.

My son is now 19 and still living at home, and these things are still happening. What am I supposed to do? Sit back and say nothing? This morning we were getting into the car to go to work, and he swung his lunch bag around and hit me in the head with it. It contained cans of soda, and it hurt. When no reaction or apology was forthcoming, I said, "You hit me in the head with your lunch bag," and he went off again about always being a failure and everyone always finding fault with him. -- FRUSTRATED MOM IN VIRGINIA

DEAR FRUSTRATED MOM: It may seem a little late to suggest this, but have you ever had your son evaluated for a psychological or neurological disorder? There may be a reason for his constantly losing things. As to his clumsiness, has his vision -- specifically his depth perception -- been checked by an eye-care specialist? Yes, accidents happen, but when they happen repeatedly, there may be an explanation for it other than klutziness or forgetfulness.

DEAR ABBY: I recently married a man my family and friends, and I, all thought was the perfect man/husband for me -- or anyone, for that matter. We have been married less than two months, and I have undeniable proof that he is married to another woman in another state.

We received gifts from two showers -- one given by some friends and another given by my co-workers. Should I give them back? I want to do the right thing. There are about 20 gifts and a small gift certificate.

So far, people who know my situation say I should keep them, but are they just being polite? -- EMBARRASSED AND HEARTBROKEN IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR EMBARRASSED AND HEARTBROKEN: If they have not been used, the gifts should be offered to the people who gave them to you. However, if you have already done this and were told you should keep them, then that's what you should do. The gifts are yours to keep or dispose of as you wish, if you would prefer not to have hurtful reminders around.

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married 54 years. She is now 90 and I am 87, although we could both pass for 70. We have made love about once a week since the day we were married -- yes, about 2,800 times. Is there any correlation between frequency of sex and lack of apparent aging? -- FEELS LIKE A KID IN ARIZONA

DEAR KID: From everything I have read, regular cardiovascular exercise, lack of stress and a happy marriage contribute to a couple's health and well-being. Because a healthy sex life falls into all three categories, I think you're onto something.

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