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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Mindy" for a little more than a year, and mostly we get along. The one thing that is not working is Mindy likes to have long talks on the phone, usually very late into the night.

When I get sleepy and tell her I'm going to bed, she either gets upset, ignores me and continues talking, or tries to guilt me into staying up later to talk. I resent it. I have tried discussing it with her, but she doesn't seem to get it. How can I get across to Mindy that I'd like to go to bed without a fight? -- NODDING OFF IN BELMONT, CALIF.

DEAR NODDING OFF: Do it by telling your chatterbox girlfriend in the bright light of day what time your bedtime is. Tell her that if she wants to have long conversations in the evening, that's fine with you -- but she needs to respect what your bedtime is. As that time approaches, remind Mindy by saying, "I'm giving you five more minutes, then I'm hanging up the phone." Then do it.

DEAR ABBY: My fiance's ex-girlfriend "Amanda" has been living with his parents for more than three years. I feel cheated out of the opportunity to have a daughter-like relationship with my fiance's parents. I want her to move out.

I have discussed this with my fiance, and he talked to his mother and told her that we're getting married and it's time for Amanda to leave. Amanda also agrees it's time for her to move, but my future mother-in-law doesn't. I don't think she wants to let go of Amanda and her grandson. It's like Amanda is her daughter.

I don't like the situation. It's not normal, and I don't know what to do. Should I confront his mother or just stay quiet? I want to feel like I'm the daughter-in-law, not Amanda! Please help. -- CHEATED IN HOLLAND, MICH.

DEAR CHEATED: I see nothing positive to be gained from a confrontation. Once you and your fiance are married, you will be the only daughter-in-law.

However, you will have to accept that Amanda's child will always be your in-laws' first grandchild. Regardless of how far or how fast Amanda moves out, her child will have a place in their hearts and their lives. Having had their grandchild living in their home for this period of time has intensified the bond. Please consider carefully how this will affect you before you marry this man, because feeling as you do, it may be a difficult adjustment.

DEAR ABBY: In our house we have a simple dress code. We ban the "three B's". If your clothing shows your butt, your boobs or your belly, you may not wear it. I just don't think it's healthy for my teenage sons (or my older son and husband) to have that in their faces as we eat dinner.

Is there a tactful way to approach the kids' friends -- who are welcome at all times, but sometimes show up with their boobs hanging out? -- COVERING UP IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR COVERING UP: Yes. If someone comes to the table suffering from overexposure, take the girl aside and tell her that in your house you "dress" for dinner. Then offer her a garment to cover up with.

DEAR ABBY: I am writing you with an etiquette question. If a neighbor is displaying a card, such as a get-well or thank-you card, is it OK to pick it up and read it? -- JUST WONDERING IN SPRINGBORO, OHIO

DEAR JUST WONDERING: No, not without first asking permission. To do otherwise could be considered rude or even nosy.

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