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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend, "Jane," and I have been in love for three years. We're both in our 30s. Jane and her daughter have lived with me long enough to know that I want to be a part of -- and contribute to -- the rest of their lives. Jane knows I never want to be married, but that I am committed to her. I know how to make sure she is taken care of in the event that I pass away, and I'm in the process of making that a reality.

I would like to give her a special diamond. Is there a way to give her the moment she deserves without asking her to marry me? -- SHE DESERVES BETTER

DEAR SHE DESERVES BETTER: I doubt it. If Jane would like to be married and is open about your relationship, don't be surprised if she tells you she would rather have a proposal and a wedding than a diamond and a legal document.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Money

Parents 'Forget' One Son's Birthday -- Again

DEAR ABBY: My husband's parents forgot his birthday -- again. Last year, he laughed it off. This year, it wasn't so funny. It's especially hurtful because they not only remember his other adult siblings' birthdays, but throw parties or dinners for them to which we are invited.

Would I be out of line to send them a reminder next year? I don't want them to think I'm fishing for a party; I just would like them to call their son on his birthday. -- CALENDAR GIRL IN ILLINOIS

DEAR CALENDAR GIRL: Why do I think there is more to this story than you have mentioned? Your husband may have done -- or not done -- something that upset his parents, and this may be their passive-aggressive way of punishing him.

Do not "remind" them of the birthday. They are well aware of when it is. Instead, plan a celebration for him with some of his friends, and make the occasion a happy one with no mention of his parents.

Loud Music Drowns Out Chitchat at Special Events

DEAR ABBY: Please explain why DJs or bands think it's appropriate to blast their music at occasions like weddings, dinners or any gathering, for that matter, to the point that the guests have to shout at each other. I thought music was supposed to be in the background, to be enjoyed during a meal or conversation, then raised a little louder for dancing, since dancers want to hear the music.

I was at a golf tournament recently, and we asked the DJs to turn the volume down because the players were still golfing. They did, but when players started coming in, the music got louder and louder until it was blasting. The more people who came in, the louder it got. Abby, how do you feel about this? -- TOO LOUD IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR TOO LOUD: This may happen because of the size of the room or the mood the musicians are attempting to create. However, unless music is being played in a dance club, increasing the volume to the point that attendees cannot comfortably carry on a conversation is intrusive.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)