Dear Abby:

I recently found out that my husband of 20 years bought diamond earrings and something from Victoria's Secret for another woman. His explanation? "She's just a friend, and she's married to a jerk." He has told me many different stories about her. I checked them out and found they were all lies.

Someone once told me that when a man buys diamond earrings or a bracelet, it means he's already slept with her. What do you think?

Wants the Truth in Minnesota

Diamond earrings? That's quite an investment. When a man gives diamonds to a woman, it's a good bet that he's getting plenty in return -- or hoping to.

Dear Abby:

I have been married to my wife, "Selma," for two years.

I'm sure we both do things that bother each other, but the one thing she does that gets on my nerves is to open my mail. If the mail is addressed to both of us, then I don't mind.

When I come home from work, I find my personal mail opened, read and scattered on the table. How do I tell her to stop reading my mail?

No Privacy in Birmingham, Ala.

Tell her in plain English that it is an invasion of privacy and you resent it, and that you expect to find the envelopes intact when you get home from work. If she doesn't comply, get a post office box in your name only and have your mail delivered there.

Dear Abby:

I have fallen in love with a wonderful man I'll call "Hank." Hank is everything I want in a man. We have been together for five months, and he is always very well-dressed -- which is important to me. I take pride in the way I look and want my partner to do the same.

Hank and I went out yesterday. It was cold outside and Hank said he would wear a sweater. Well, Abby, the sweater looked like something he found in a trash bin! It was stained, dirty and faded. How do I tell Hank that sweater has to go without hurting his feelings? I felt embarrassed to be with him, which I hated to admit to myself. How can I tell him not to wear it again?

Embarrassed in Illinois

Do NOT tell him not to wear it again, or that you felt embarrassed to be seen with him in it. When an otherwise spiffy dresser wears a garment that is "old, stained, faded," etc., it is safe to assume that the item has sentimental value. Since you prefer that he wear something nicer, buy him a sweater or two -- and as the weather grows colder, let him know how much it would please you to see him in something you selected especially for him.

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate