published Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Dear Abby: Temper tantrums take toll on otherwise happy couple

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with "Betsy" for more than three years. For the most part, we get along well, laugh a lot, and have a good relationship.

However, Betsy has an awful temper. She gets angry easily and becomes verbally abusive, saying ugly, hateful things that hurt me deeply. I never know what tiny thing will set her off. Although she usually apologizes later, I still feel the hurt she inflicted on me during her rage.

Abby, I'm in a quandary. I love Betsy very much and am normally happy with her. But these abusive rants are beginning to take a toll on me and on our relationship.

How do you know when it's time to leave someone—especially when you still love that person?—TIRED OF THE TIRADES IN TEMECULA, CALIF.

DEAR TIRED: You and Betsy are overdue for a serious talk. She may have emotional problems—or she may simply be verbally abusive. Give her a choice: Seek help for her problem or the two of you are history. No one has a right to do to someone what she's doing to you. Unless the problem is resolved, this is the atmosphere in which your children will grow up if you should marry her.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable—and most frequently requested—poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 to: Dear Abby—Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old girl. I go to a private school where everyone gets really nice cars for their 16th birthday. I have a 2001 compact economy car. It's nothing compared to the cars my peers get. I know if I start to drive this car when I turn 16, people will make fun of me—behind my back and to my face. I don't want to be seen in it.

I know I should be thankful I have a car at all, but it's hard when you know you'll be made fun of mercilessly. I told my parents that I don't want to get my license because of this problem, but I really do want it. I think the reason they're not getting me another car is because of financial difficulties, so it would be unfair of me to ask for a different one.

Should I deal with the car I have and put up with the kidding, or wait two or three years to get my driver's license?—DRIVING MYSELF CRAZY IN ST. LOUIS

DEAR DRIVING YOURSELF CRAZY: You need to grow up. You're crying poverty with a loaf of bread under both arms. You attend a private school, which isn't cheap, and your parents have given you a car. Be grateful for what you have; most teens are not so lucky. Or consider getting a job so you can start saving for an auto upgrade.

DEAR ABBY: When I go to someone's home for dinner, I often take a dessert or beverage for everyone to enjoy, being careful not to "outdo" my host. I would never, for example, bring an entree.

I recently met a young lady who always brings not only an entree, but also a side and one or two desserts to our host's home, and this seems to be causing a bit of tension with our host. Am I wrong in believing this young lady is being rude?—A GOOD GUEST IN TEXAS

DEAR GOOD GUEST: When invited to someone's home for dinner, it is appropriate to ask, "May I bring something?" If the answer is yes, then you should bring what the host asks for. If the answer is "Just bring yourself," it is considered good manners to bring a small gift such as candy, an assortment of nuts or a bottle of wine if you know your hosts imbibe.

It is not appropriate to bring an entree, sides or a dessert that has not been requested. Are you sure the young lady you mentioned wasn't asked to do what she did?

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