DEAR ABBY: I was the only person working out in the gym at my apartment complex the other evening when a man, presumably another resident, came to the front door. To enter, you must swipe your access card on the keypad.

He apparently did not have his access card with him and sat outside the door waiting for me to let him in. Because I was working on a cardio machine and trying to maintain my heart rate, I didn’t want to interrupt my workout to open the door. He eventually tired of waiting and left.

Should I have stopped and let the person in the door? Or should he have gone back to get his access card? – CARDIO CARRIE IN GEORGIA

While it would have been nice of you to let the man in, it could also have been dangerous because you were alone and the person was a stranger. The security door was put there for a reason, and I find it interesting that the man did not go after his entry card and return. The fact that he didn’t suggests that he may not have been a resident as you assumed, and you may have dodged a bullet.

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating/engaged to a wonderful man for almost a year. He was recently deployed for a 14- month tour of duty in Iraq with the Marine Corps.

We planned to be married in August while he is home on R&R, but a few days ago he asked that we postpone the wedding until next February when he is stateside for good.

He was gung-ho about our nuptials until a few days ago, when he requested that we wait. I’m confused because all he talked about was getting married and now it’s a sore subject. – MARINE’S GIRL

Having never met or spoken to your fiance, I can’t explain what is going on in his head. However, active duty in a war zone is extremely stressful, and his change of attitude may be related to that.

It takes a strong woman to be married to a man in the military, so be patient, stay positive and let him know that you’ll be there when he comes home. Do not pressure him for answers right now. Continue to be as supportive as you can. When he returns in August, you two can have a heart-to-heart talk about why he wanted to slow things down.

DEAR ABBY: We recently celebrated my stepdaughter’s 40th birthday. After dinner I placed the birthday cake, along with the knife, cake server, plates and forks, in front of her. We sang “Happy Birthday,” and she blew out the candles.

Shortly afterward, I realized she was not cutting and serving the cake, so I asked if she wanted her father or me to do it.

I was raised with the idea that the person whose birthday it is should serve the cake to those celebrating with her (or him). Now I have begun to wonder, what is the proper custom regarding who should cut and serve the birthday cake? – CURIOUS IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR CURIOUS: I’m not sure there is a rule of etiquette regarding who should serve the birthday cake. It’s really up to the individuals involved, and the custom can vary from family to family. In your case, when you saw that your stepdaughter wasn’t cutting the birthday cake, you did the right thing in asking her if she would like you to. That’s what I would have done.

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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