DEAR ABBY: I am a 38-year-old woman. My fiance of five years, “Troy,” and I live together and are the parents of a 5-month-old baby girl.

We have been going out recently to dance at our favorite club, but every time we go, Troy disappears and leaves me with his best friend – sometimes up to five hours at a time.

The club has several stories, with many secluded nooks, so Troy is hard to find. When I finally locate him, he’s sweaty and has a weird look on his face. When I ask where he was and why he disappeared, I get no answers.

His friend covers for him. My fiance and I have never had a night out without this guy coming with us, and I’m tired of Troy’s disappearing act. Something is going on.

He calls me paranoid, but I think if you leave your fiancee every time you go out, something is not right.

Am I being paranoid? Or does he have someone stashed in the club waiting for him? By the way, I make most of the money and pay for the nights out. – SUSPICIOUS IN NEW JERSEY

Obviously something is up – another woman, or possibly your fiance is using drugs – and his best friend is there to make sure you don’t find out. I hope you don’t actually plan to marry this man, because he does not appear to be financially or emotionally ready for marriage. In fact, it appears he’s happy as things are – with you as his meal ticket.

However, to settle your curiosity, the next time you plan to go dancing, ask a girlfriend to come to the club separately and spend the evening tracking Troy. That should give you a clear picture of what has been going on behind the scenes.

DEAR ABBY: I have the most annoying laugh. It goes from a cackle to a loud screech. I have lost friends over this because people don’t enjoy being seen in public with me. Is there anything I can do to solve this problem? – KRISTEN IN WAYNE, N.J.

It is possible to modulate one’s laughter, as it is one’s speaking voice. It takes practice and discipline, but it can be done.

However, there is much to be said for a genuine, spontaneous, hearty laugh. And those who would end a friendship because they don’t want to be seen in public with you are shallow. So perhaps you should reconsider whether you want to be seen with THEM.

DEAR ABBY: I was recently invited to a friend’s house for the weekend. As I prepared to retire for the night, I realized that the sheets were not clean.

I looked for another set of sheets to change the bed, but couldn’t find any. It was late, my hostess had gone to bed and – needless to say – I didn’t have a great night’s sleep. I didn’t want to embarrass her, but I didn’t want to sleep on a soiled bed. How would you have handled this? – SLEEPLESS IN COLORADO

I would have slept on the bedspread or outside the covers, and in the morning I would have asked my hostess for fresh sheets “because the last guest forgot to change the linen.”

CONFIDENTIAL TO PAULINE PHILLIPS, MY DARLING MOTHER: A Happy Mother’s Day from your firstborn. You are in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers today and every day.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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