DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 40 years. Like all married couples, we have had our ups and downs, but we have a good marriage. We have two children and five grandchildren.
I wouldn't change anything, except I never had an engagement ring. My husband has bought jewelry for me over the years, but never what I really want -- a diamond ring.
I have hinted to him over the last few years, left jewelry store catalogs and enlisted my sister-in-law to TELL him. He can afford it. But he just won't buy one for me.
He has been financially helpful to our children and is generous to charity. But when it comes to this, it's becoming clear that he thinks I am just not worth it. I feel unloved and deeply hurt. It seems my needs always come last, and this is just one more. Any comments? -- DISENGAGED IN FLORIDA
DEAR DISENGAGED: Yes. Diamonds are minerals that have been marketed to the public to seem like something more. Do not let this negatively affect your relationship with your husband. If a diamond ring is what you want, then consider buying one for yourself. You wouldn't be the first woman to do it, and you won't be the last.
DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend of 18 months, whom I love with all my heart, just learned an ex-boyfriend passed away. They dated on and off for 10 years, and she's inconsolable.
After their relationship ended, she married someone else and divorced. I am having a really hard time with how she's handling this. Can you please help? -- CURRENT MR. RIGHT IN RHODE ISLAND
DEAR CURRENT MR. RIGHT: Your girlfriend may not be mourning the death of her former flame as much as she's grieving a burial of 10 years of her history. Give her time and let her share her feelings with you. If you do, it will bring you closer. Do NOT allow jealousy to enter into the picture. (Remember, the man is dead, and YOU are her future.)
If her deep grief persists, suggest she get grief counseling. That would be the most loving and supportive thing you could do.
DEAR ABBY: I have a problem dealing with shopping mall kiosk operators. Many of them are outright obnoxious. They block your way and insist that you listen to their pitch or try their product. I find I have to avoid eye contact with them. They might say something nice as I walk by, but if I answer, it is a guaranteed lead-in to a sales pitch.
I feel bad for not replying, but it's the only way. I know they are trying to make a living, but I can see their product as I walk by. If it's something I'm interested in, I'll stop and ask. Otherwise, I think they should respect my privacy. Am I wrong for feeling this way? -- BOTHERED IN TEMPE, ARIZ.
DEAR BOTHERED: Not at all. If a stranger speaks to you, no rule of etiquette compels you to reply. When one of these salespeople starts to pitch you, all you need to say is, "Not interested!" and keep walking. However, if someone attempts to physically restrain you, it should be reported to the mall management because that is going too far.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." 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.)