DEAR ABBY: My stepsister stole my boyfriend, and I am so mad I am going crazy. She’s very attractive and has no problem finding boyfriends. She did not have to do this. I am sure she did it out of spite.

 We’re both 16, go to the same school and have several classes together, so I can’t avoid her. We also have to share a room every other weekend when she’s here.

 I have so much hate and anger toward her now, I don’t know how to deal with it — especially since we have to sleep in the same room. Please give me some advice. — HATES HER IN NEW MEXICO

 DEAR HATES HER: I don’t think there is a single woman reading your letter who hasn’t felt the same way you do at one time or another in her life. But please let me share a lesson most of us have learned: Short of slipping a man a knock-out drug, he can’t be “kidnapped.” He is responsible for making his own decisions. Yes, your stepsister might not have discouraged him. She may have even thrown herself at him. But what happened was of his own free will.

 DEAR ABBY: I’ve always been big on birthdays. I love the cake, the candles, the singing and a nice dinner. My husband wasn’t a huge fan, but did what he could to please me.

 Last year, his father died on my birthday, so naturally, my birthday was the last thing on his mind. Now the one-year anniversary of my father-in-law’s death is coming up, and we will be getting together with the family for a memorial service.

 I wonder if my birthday will always be clouded by sadness. Is it possible to ever celebrate the day of my birth in a happy manner and without feeling guilty about it? — BIRTHDAY- CONFLICTED IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

 DEAR CONFLICTED: Yes, but start next year. Or, if you prefer, by agreeing to a weekend getaway on a date other than your birthday this year.

 DEAR ABBY: My daughter was married last weekend and received several unmarked gifts. When sending out thank-you notes, how do you know what to say and to whom? There were several guests that would never have come empty-handed, yet there is no way to match the mystery gifts to the right guests. Not sending a thank-you note to someone I’m sure brought a gift seems awkward and embarrassing. — AT A LOSS IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

 DEAR AT A LOSS: For the people whose cards were not included — or were lost — your daughter and/or son-in-law should send generic thank-you letters rather than ones that are specific. They should say something like this: “Dear (—-), ‘John’ (or ‘Carol’) and I want to thank you for sharing our special day with us. Your presence at such a sacred and meaningful time meant more to us than words can convey. Fondly, (—-).”

 DEAR ABBY: I am about to sell a business my husband and I opened with an initial investment of $25,000. We are selling it for $6 million. Most of my close friends are broke and in the past have “borrowed” money without repaying it.

I don’t feel I can tell any of them my good news without them asking for more money. How can I handle this and still keep my friends? — KEEPING MUM IN FLORIDA

 DEAR KEEPING MUM: How much you sell the business for is between you, your CPA and the IRS. Period! The way to “handle” it is to keep your personal information private and your mouth shut.

 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.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.