DEAR ABBY: I have been working hard to advance in my health care career so I can give my family a decent life. I have worked my way up from poverty, paying my own way, earning my degree through the military and sheer determination.
I have reached a point where I would like to enjoy life a little more, but my husband thinks I am being "materialistic." We fight often over my wardrobe spending.
I believe the clothes I wear, mostly nice skirt suits and heels, are part of my job and image. I believe it has helped me to get ahead. I don't buy overly expensive items, but they aren't cheap. I wear the things I buy for years and have a $200-a-month budget for what I may need, even though I don't always spend it.
I think I have earned the right to shop a little, which will ultimately lead to bigger and better things for my family, so why does my husband make me feel so guilty? -- CLOTHES MAKE THE WOMAN
DEAR C.M.T.W.: Not knowing your husband, it's difficult to say, but I'll throw out a few ideas. Could he be insecure or intimidated by your professional image? Could he be jealous on some level? In what kind of environment was he raised? Was his mother's "uniform" a housedress?
If you are earning good money and your family is being provided for, then you are certainly entitled to spend some of it on yourself. And you shouldn't have to apologize for it.
DEAR ABBY: I am getting married in October, and my fiance, "Brad," and I are having trouble seeing eye-to-eye on the name change issue.
Brad's family is originally from the North, and my family is from the South. He and his family are convinced that I should drop my maiden name, keep my middle name, and take his name as my new last name.
However, the women in MY family have always kept our maiden names, added their new husband's last name to theirs and dropped their middle names.
This is about the only thing Brad and I can't seem to agree on. What can I do when my mother says one thing and my sweetie says another? With your years of experience, I hope you can steer me in the right direction. -- BRAD'S BRIDE IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR BRIDE: It's YOUR name. So do what you are most comfortable doing, because it's the name you will have to carry 'til the day you die (or divorce).
DEAR ABBY: I am under a lot of stress, but the woman I am with doesn't know it. I am 17, and I have been sleeping with my 38-year-old aunty. She's married and has three children. She's my mum's sister. We've slept together seven times and we can't stop doing it. I think I'm in love with her.
I know this is wrong. I need advice. Please help. -- LOVESICK TEEN IN THE U.K.
DEAR LOVESICK: Being "in love" shouldn't cause stress; it should relieve it. You know what you are doing is wrong, and YOU must be the adult and end this relationship. If you don't, it will bring heartache and turmoil to you and the rest of the family. By having an adulterous and incestuous affair with you -- her nephew and a minor -- your aunt is behaving like a sexual predator.
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.)