DEAR ABBY: I have been happily married for more than 40 years. Since he retired a couple of years ago, it has come to my attention that he has been getting mail at a separate private mailbox. I don't see a good reason for this, and it is weighing on me heavily.
I don't want to make a big deal out of it, but I'm concerned. He sees all our bills and evidently pays other ones I'm not aware of. Because of this, I feel like a second-class citizen who is too stupid to know all the ins and outs of our finances.
Because I don't see anything he buys or pays for, I remain in the dark. Conversely, he sees where every penny I spend goes. It's not that he isn't generous; I lack for nothing. It's that he is secretive. (I don't think he is into porn or something else nefarious.)
At this stage in my marriage, have you any advice for me? If I confront him, I'm not confident he would give me all the information. Am I being too demanding? Should I let sleeping dogs lie? -- IN THE DARK IN THE NORTHWEST
DEAR IN THE DARK: Unless you want to become like so many unfortunate women whose husbands keep the details of their finances from "the little woman," you will tell your husband you want to know how much money you both have, how it is invested and where it goes. If he is resistant, explain that women usually outlive their husbands, and you do not want to be caught flat-footed in addition to grieving in the event of his demise. If your marriage is as strong as you describe, he should recognize the wisdom in it. Right now the mailbox is the least of your worries. Save that conversation for another time.
DEAR ABBY: I recently got engaged, and my wedding is a year and a half away. My best friend, "Crystal," is going to be my maid of honor.
I know everyone has different insecurities, so I'm letting my bridesmaids choose their own dresses as long as they are the right color. However, I'm worried about Crystal and her dress. She's larger than the other girls. I know she will want to lose weight for the wedding. She has been saying she wants to lose weight for some time. Unfortunately, she isn't committed, and she stress eats.
I was thinking about having her come with me and buying a dress for her. While I'm trying to keep the dresses cheap, I know they can be expensive. Should I order the size Crystal thinks she will get down to? Current size? Bigger? I know it's usually better to order up because it's easier to make dresses smaller than larger. I don't know what to do and don't want to insult her. -- BAFFLED BRIDE
DEAR BAFFLED BRIDE: The responsibility for choosing a dress that fits should be Crystal's, not yours. If you insert yourself into the process, and the dress is too small by the time the wedding rolls around, the blame may fall on you. If you suggest she buy something (in the right color) closer to the date of the wedding, the chances are better that it will fit.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)