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DEAR ABBY: I have been communicating with this girl I work with who is currently seeing a guy she's been with for four years. We have a strong connection and physical attraction, and we have both disclosed our feelings to each other.

We communicate rarely by text but never through phone calls, for obvious reasons. Her man works for the same company we do but in a different building. It's clear to me that he doesn't complement her being or lifestyle and will never rise to her level.

I let her know that if she were to break things off with him, I would want to give it a try, and she said the same. She contacts me only when she wants and flirts with me whenever we are in contact, but it's always at her convenience.

We have known each other for a year and a half now, and she claims she cares for me. My question, Abby, is how should I go about moving this situation forward? -- IN LINE FOR HER IN NEW YORK

DEAR IN LINE: From where I sit, the ball is in her court, not yours. Because nothing has happened in the last year and a half, you appear to be a diversion rather than the main event.

She has been with her boyfriend for four years. If she were willing to sacrifice the time she has put in with him for a chance to see if things work out with you, it would have happened by now. Because you want a real relationship with someone, my advice is to look elsewhere for one.


DEAR ABBY: My daughter has zero style sense. She tints her hair every color under the sun and dresses straight from the sale bin at the thrift store. She mismatches any and everything she puts on, and she's doing it to her children, too. Their clothes are dingy and outdated. I have bought them stylish clothing. She returns them and gets the ugliest clothes.

She also gives the kids hideous haircuts. If I take them to a stylist, she will buzz the entire cut into a Mohawk. My granddaughter had the most beautiful long hair, and my daughter just cut it into a mullet with short bangs.

Why does she want her kids looking ratty? She keeps a clean house and is an involved, loving mother. It drives me crazy. I try to keep my mouth shut because a gift is a gift. But it really annoys me that she will take back a top-label shirt and exchange it for an ugly one, or a pretty, sparkly dress for my granddaughter for a trashy-looking blue velvet dress with yellow rubber boots. Why? -- STYLISH GRAN IN ARIZONA

DEAR STYLISH GRAN: You are asking the wrong person that question. This is something you should ask your daughter. The answer may be as simple as her taste -- and her children's -- is different from yours. Or, these style choices are something her kids are OK with because this is what their friends are wearing.

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