DEAR ABBY: I'm fortunate to be married to an amazing woman. There's just one problem. She's convinced that I'm going to burn down the house. She constantly nags me when I'm cooking, even when I'm literally standing over the pots. I find her tone -- and the idea that I don't know how to use a stove -- insulting.
She insists I have the burner on too high when I'm making spaghetti, and it will somehow result in a catastrophe far worse than a ruined meal. I find it extremely annoying because I am 30, served my country honorably in Iraq, have been making spaghetti since I was 12 and have never caused any sort of kitchen fire.
My wife hasn't cooked for me in more than a year. That doesn't upset me because I know she works hard to earn money for our family. But if she doesn't cook for me and I'm not allowed to cook for me, then how am I supposed to eat?
Is there anything I can do to make my wife understand that I can be trusted to make a simple meal on a simple stove? -- PASTA GUY IN PHILLY
DEAR PASTA GUY: Probably not, if you haven't been able to convey that message in more than a year. So insist that she stay out of the kitchen while you're cooking, or prepare your meals after she has left for work. Or expand your repertoire beyond spaghetti and make a salad instead.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old high school student with a wonderful life, but I'm not happy. I get good grades, have many great friends, a weekend job and an amazing boyfriend. (He's 17.)
The problem is I'm bored. I have had only one technical boyfriend besides the one I have now. I had two "flings" where I got involved with guys without an official or physical relationship. I know most teenagers would kill for a boyfriend like mine who buys them things and tells them they're beautiful. But I want a relationship with ups and downs -- drama and fighting. Am I crazy to want to date other people, or is this normal? -- LOST IN LOVE
DEAR LOST IN LOVE: You're not crazy. It is normal for some teenage girls to want variety. However, please don't equate the kind of drama you see on TV and in films with what real life is supposed to be about. Relationships filled with drama and fighting do not have happy outcomes. They can lead to bruised hearts and sometimes violence.
If you want to end the relationship with your boyfriend, by all means do so. But before you become involved in the kind of relationship you think would be exciting, please discuss it with your mother or another trusted adult, because a mature person with insight should share some of it with you.
DEAR ABBY: My mother gives gifts -- sometimes very generous ones -- but always with strings attached. She also keeps a record of which recipients have responded with appropriate gratitude (cards, phone calls) and those who have not. Those individuals on the "not" list are ridiculed behind their backs and slighted in other ways.
My mother considers herself a "good Christian," but I believe her actions are selfish, and I have conflicting emotions when I receive gifts from her. What do you think? -- CONFLICTED IN WISCONSIN
DEAR CONFLICTED: I think you should always thank your mother graciously and appropriately for her generosity when she gives you a gift, if only because it is considered good manners.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.