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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Eric," and I are newlyweds. Several months ago, with a little coaxing, I shared my previous "history" with him. I used graphic terms and went into great detail. Eric found it extremely exciting, and we both benefited from it.

Recently, Eric mentioned how great it would be if I contacted one of my past lovers to push the envelope of passion even further. I agreed. My dinner date with the old flame was actually quite fun, with talk of the past. Eric thrilled at my description of the "date." His suggestion that I go out with my old beau and "enjoy myself" as I had when I was single, however, left me hurt and somewhat uncomfortable.

Eric hinted that a new "story" would take things to another level. He's completely OK with it, not at all jealous. I said I wasn't sure, but I'd consider it. What do you think? -- MRS. R. IN ILLINOIS

DEAR MRS. R.: Some "envelopes" should remain sealed. Think long and hard before embarking on the path toward which your husband is leading you. Is this really the kind of marriage you signed up for? How would you feel about Eric looking up old flames and reporting back to you?

Frankly, I think you're being pushed in the wrong direction. The result could very well be that you end up feeling used and degraded.

DEAR ABBY: I want to help my son and grandchildren. His current wife moved out, taking their two little ones with her. His other three children from his first wife still live with him. They are upset about this and can't understand why they have been abandoned by their stepmom -- just as they were by their birth mother. The little boy is taking it the hardest.

How can I help my grandchildren understand that this isn't their fault? -- HEARTBROKEN GRANDMA IN TEXAS

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: If you and your son's second wife are on speaking terms, ask her to contact your grandchildren and explain that grown-ups sometimes can no longer live together, and they need to remain with their father. She should also tell them that her leaving has absolutely nothing to do with them.

If the children continue to have ongoing abandonment issues, they should be seen by a therapist who can help them put those issues to rest. All you can do is love your grandchildren and be there for them as much as possible.

DEAR ABBY: I work in the corporate office of a major airline and communicate with many employees throughout the country. I do a lot of traveling, both for business and for pleasure, and when I do, I encounter a lot of our employees who recognize me and say hello as I travel through their stations.

My problem is, I have a difficult time remembering names, and on occasion, recognizing faces. I'm embarrassed when this happens, and I don't know what to say. What's the best way to respond to someone who recognizes me, even though I don't recognize him or her? -- RED-FACED IN WASHINGTON

DEAR RED-FACED: How about this? Smile at the person and say, "Hi! It's nice to see you." And let the person who recognized you take it from there.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)