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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I relocated to a new area a year ago and, after several hair color disasters, finally found a great stylist/colorist, "Raphael." The problem is, he constantly hits on me even though he's married. He emails and calls me frequently. I told him I'd be willing to see him after hours only if his wife, the salon receptionist, is aware of it. He said, "No, don't tell her."

Raphael tries to lure me into the salon after closing by promising free services, which I decline. There's no question that this is more than the simple flattery most male stylists give their clients. That he's trying to cheat on his wife makes me extremely uncomfortable. The salon is across from my apartment, so when he sees me come out he always asks me to have dinner. I have taken to walking a different route.

I don't want to look for a new stylist after all the mess I had to go through to find Raphael. How can I communicate clearly that I love the way he does my hair, but I'm not interested otherwise? I don't want to make things awkward, but I have tried everything and he won't take the hint. -- DIS-TRESSED IN BETHESDA, MD.

DEAR DIS-TRESSED: There's a reason why Raphael's wife is his receptionist. Raphael may think he is irresistible because he has done this successfully with other customers.

The next time he makes a move on you, tell him plainly you're not interested and that his actions are embarrassing. You will probably have to find another hairdresser afterward because Raphael appears to have a giant ego and may not take rejection well. An excellent way to find one is to ask women whose hairstyles and color you like. In fact, I'm advising you to start doing that right away before your roots start showing.

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Cameron" for five years. We're in graduate school, have a wonderful relationship and are discussing marriage. I get along well with his parents, but some things have just come out about his father and I don't know how to deal with it.

Two years ago we discovered that Cameron's father had been having an affair. He promised to stop seeing the woman, get a restraining order so she'd leave him alone and work on his marriage. It seems he lied. We have ound out (again) that he has continued to see her. Cameron was mortified both times and sad his father would treat his mother this way.

His mother said she'd try counseling with him, and if he didn't live up to his promise, she'd divorce him. It has been months and they're still in counseling. His dad isn't allowed to live at home with her.

I'm furious with Cameron's father for being such an idiot. I don't want to see him (one of Cameron's sisters has cut him out of her life completely), but Cameron thinks his father will hurt himself if we all leave him. Please tell me how to handle this because although I never want to see the man again, I may have to. -- WALKING ON EGGSHELLS IN DELAWARE

DEAR WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: Cameron's parents' marriage has hit a "rough patch." However, they're both trying to repair it. While you may be disgusted with Cameron's father, you have no reason to be "furious" with him -- his wife does. So for everyone's sake, cool off and think rationally.

If your boyfriend's parents manage to reconcile, you'll be seeing them with some regularity -- and they will need all of the emotional support they can get. If they decide to divorce, it will be up to Cameron to decide how close he wishes to remain with his father. Please do not add fuel to an already explosive situation. Everyone's suffering enough as it is.

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