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DEAR ABBY: My daughter recently celebrated her 20th birthday. She's a good kid with a decent job who happens to like tattoos.

For her birthday, my in-laws sent her a birthday card. Usually their card includes a gift card, check or cash. This year, there was no gift but a note stating that they were not sending money as they felt she would use it toward more tattoos.

I understand their beliefs may be different, but their approach to the situation was not nice. When she read their note, my daughter broke down and cried. My question is: Should I ignore their rudeness and ignorance, or should I (or my husband) call them and stick up for our daughter? -- TRYING TO BE NONJUDGMENTAL

DEAR TRYING: I don't think what happened should be ignored. What your in-laws did was uncalled for, and the person who should tell them that is your daughter because she's an adult. If they were really concerned that she would spend their gift money on a tattoo, they could have sent her a tangible gift -- an item of clothing or a gift card from a specific retailer. Shame on them.


DEAR ABBY: I'm a 68-year-old divorced woman who has been dating a slightly older widower. We were beginning a nice relationship until he got mad at me for giving him a fever blister. He suggested we not see each other or talk for more than two weeks. After that, he texted me to see if my fever blister was gone. He said he was still sort of angry about it, and described how ugly and painful the blister was.

I feel he was really petty, and it has put a damper on things. Am I wrong to feel this way? What is your advice? Hurry, please, because his blister is healing and he wants to see me. -- EMBARRASSED IN MISSOURI

DEAR EMBARRASSED: Your gentleman friend's behavior wasn't petty. The "fever blister" you gave him was a herpes virus. Before you see him again, talk to your doctor so he or she can explain how the virus is passed and what you can do to lessen the chances or prevent it in the future. If you do, you'll be doing both of you a favor.


DEAR ABBY: While attending a large party, I re-entered the main room to find my wife engaged in what appeared to be an intimate conversation with a longtime friend who is known to be a "hound dog" who frequently boasts of his latest conquests. They held each other's hands and were talking to each other at "kissing" distance. I watched from afar and then left the area so as not to create a scene. They were obviously not talking about the weather.

When I confronted my wife the next day, she said there is nothing going on between them and they were just talking. My wife had a few drinks that night, but I don't think she was drunk. Your take on this? -- SAW TOO MUCH IN GEORGIA

DEAR SAW: My take is that if you trust your wife, you will believe what she's telling you. Appearances can be deceiving, especially when viewed from a distance.

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