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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I need help! I have shoplifted several times. I was caught and have a police record. I am a grandparent. I know it's wrong, and I don't do it all the time. Is this a mental disorder, or am I just being stupid? If I know this is wrong, why do I keep doing it? And where do I start to look for help? -- STICKY FINGERS

DEAR STICKY FINGERS: Some people shoplift because they are criminals, some do it for "thrills," and others do it to make up for something else that is missing in their lives. Because you know what you are doing is wrong, would like to understand your compulsion and want to stop, the person to discuss this with is a psychologist. Your physician can refer you to one, or contact your state psychological association to find someone in your area.

Read more in: Mental Health

DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend and I have called it quits after three years. Distance was the main reason. It wasn't a bad breakup, but it's still a difficult transition for both of us. She would rather we not see or speak to each other for a while to let things heal.

Her birthday is coming up soon, and I don't feel right not acknowledging it. Her special day means a lot to her, and I still love and respect her for who she is. Is sending a card and gift appropriate, or should I just leave her be? -- DISTANCE WAS THE REASON

DEAR DISTANCE: Send a birthday card and tell her that because the day is special, you couldn't let it pass unacknowledged. It shouldn't be necessary to send a gift in light of the fact that you are no longer a couple.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Holidays & Celebrations

DEAR ABBY: My daughter is getting married in September. In June, she's planning to have a bachelorette party in Mexico.

My husband and I have never been to Mexico and thought, "Why not kill two birds with one stone?" Because I'm afraid of flying, I want my husband and son to also go to Mexico, but stay at a different resort. The party is only for three days, so when everyone else goes home, my husband and I will extend our stay.

I have gone on girl vacations to Las Vegas before, where my husband has traveled with me and then gone and done his own thing. We would meet up after the girl vacation. I don't see a problem with his traveling to Mexico, but my daughter absolutely objects. What do you think? -- NO PROBLEM IN COLORADO

DEAR NO: Could this be a telltale warning sign of a budding bridezilla? Your daughter appears to be making a problem where none exists. If your husband and son will stay at a different resort, they might as well be back in the states. That they are in Mexico shouldn't inconvenience or inhibit your daughter at all.

Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations

Happy Lunar New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MY ASIAN READERS: The Lunar New Year begins today. This year is the year of the goat. People born in the year of the goat are gentle, serene, calm and mild-mannered. They are creative, persevering, resilient and possess excellent defensive skills. They prefer to be in groups and work in teams and, I am told, they can be flirtatious. A happy, healthy and prosperous new year to all who celebrate it. -- Love, ABBY

Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations