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by Abigail Van Buren

Quick-Thinking 'Cowgirl' Heads Off Embarrassment

DEAR ABBY: My dear friend "Iris" is having her annual Halloween party. Each year I wear a costume I pull together without spending extra money. This year I'll be dressing as a cowgirl, and I have arranged to borrow a few items for the costume.

As a rule, I keep my costume a surprise and don't ask others what they're going to wear. By chance, Iris and I ran errands together and she wanted to pick up her husband's costume while we were out. She chose a cowboy costume.

I considered changing my costume, but then I started wondering why I should, when I had already made arrangements. Before Iris paid for the costume, I told her about mine. She put her husband's costume back and said she'd select something else later.

There was no argument, but I wonder if I was obligated to tell her. Would it have been bad if I had just gone ahead and shown up as a cowgirl without saying anything? -- WONDERING IN THE WILD WEST

DEAR WONDERING: It would only have been "bad" if Iris had planned to dress as a cowgirl to complement her husband's costume. Personally, I think you did the right thing by being up-front.

Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations | Etiquette & Ethics

Impending Fatherhood Puts Pressure On Marriage

DEAR ABBY: I have been with my husband, "Elliot," for six years, married for two. We're financially stable and have great, supportive families.

One of our biggest issues is that Elliot needs to be emotionally coddled, and I give in to it. It's taxing to be the strong one all the time, and the result is I don't feel as attracted to him. He complains that I'm "not fun" anymore or that I'm a "prude."

Now that I'm pregnant, things have gotten worse. I expected to be treated like a pregnant goddess, but Elliot feels no emotional attachment to our baby and is afraid of becoming a father. I find it hard to deal with because we planned this pregnancy.

We have been fighting a lot lately, and while he was out, I read his journal. It stated that he knows he doesn't love his wife anymore. Since that day I have been a wreck, but I have been unable to talk to him about it.

Every morning he tells me he loves me. Now I ask him, "Are you sure?" to which he replies, "Of course!" Is he lying? Should I confront him about the journal entry even though I invaded his privacy? -- PREGNANT GODDESS IN PHILADELPHIA

DEAR PREGNANT GODDESS: Recognize that Elliot is less emotionally mature than you are, which is why you have been stuck in the role of being "the strong one." Once the baby comes, you will have less time to coddle him, which may make him jealous. People have good days and bad ones. Your husband may have been having a bad one when he wrote what you read.

This may seem like blasphemy, but not all fathers-to-be are excited when faced with the reality of impending parenthood. Some are intimidated, which may be what Elliot is feeling. You may find that once the baby arrives he will bond with him/her. However, if it doesn't happen, or if you continue to feel emotionally isolated, you both should start marriage counseling. Then he can explain to you and a counselor why he would tell you one thing and be writing the opposite in his journal.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)