DEAR ABBY: My husband, “Robby,” and I are having an argument about my teenage diary. About seven years ago, I discovered that Robby had been keeping a lot of photos and letters from his exes in boxes. I wanted him to throw them out and have continued to press the subject. His excuse has been that he “doesn’t have time.”

Last week when I brought it up, Robby went into our bedroom, took out my old diary and said it was the same thing as the box of letters. He insisted I should throw it out because it contains entries about exes and sexual experiences. I don’t think it’s the same thing. Robby took it anyway.

I am heartsick that I no longer have my diary. I don’t know how to make Robby understand that the book is a part of me. I don’t keep it to read about my exes. I keep it for the information about family members, friends and the thoughts I recorded as a teenager. Abby, I kept that diary from my freshman year of high school until the first weeks I started dating Robby.


The first thing to do is recognize that your husband has a valid point. Next, offer to declare a truce on the subject of mementos of times gone by. Then ask him to return your diary.

P.S. If Robby has already disposed of it, then his photos and letters should go, too. However, I have a hunch he is still holding onto it and is trying to teach you a lesson in fairness.

DEAR ABBY: What do you do when someone is just plain rude? I’m talking about someone who cuts in front of you in line, or someone who says something nasty about you, not knowing that his voice carried to you? – ADVOCATE FOR KINDNESS

When someone cuts in front of you in line, you have two choices: passively accept the situation, or speak up and tell the person firmly, but politely, that you were there first, and the line starts in the rear.

If someone says something nasty about you within earshot, you have two choices: ignore the boor, or say, “I heard that!” I recommend the former.

DEAR ABBY: Two weeks ago, while we were sitting in church, my partner, “Roy,” began chatting with someone seated next to him. At one point, the person reached out and patted the top of Roy’s thigh. Later, Roy and I discussed whether this gesture could be considered flirting – or was it like a pat on the back.

A few days ago, I was shocked to see my own mother do the same thing to a married male friend. Is this an appropriate gesture, or does it depend on the level of friendship or location on the thigh? – TAKEN ABACK IN BIRMINGHAM, ALA.

Some people are “touchers” and mean nothing more by it than establishing contact when they reach out. Others are lechers. Much depends upon who is doing the touching, and who is doing the interpreting.

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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