Dear Amy:

It is obvious that you still don't "get it."

Even though your readers are begging for help to deal with the consequences of infidelity in their live-in relationships, you seem unwilling to tell them the truth: Free samples usually don't result in trust and commitment, let alone marriage.

Why buy a cow when you can have the milk for nothing?

How can trust and commitment grow out of "shacking up," which is usually a temporary arrangement.

Please tell it "like it is" to your inquiring readers!

I'm still married to my beautiful bride after 50 years.

Still Married

Congratulations on your long marriage. It truly is an achievement.

However, the degrading phrase "shacking up" does not describe the deep commitment felt by many people who choose to be together without marrying, or before marrying. Infidelity doesn't seem to recognize the bonds of marriage -- I can find no evidence that married people are more faithful than unmarried people. Your letter does raise a good point, though. Couples that live together do tend to break up more often than couples that are married, for a variety of reasons. However, studies also show that couples that live together before marriage -- with the intent of marrying -- stay together at about the same rate as couples that don't live together before marriage.

Some people who would love to celebrate their commitment through marriage are prevented from doing so by laws that deem their unions illegal. Because of your point of view on marriage, I presume that you are lobbying your state government to pass laws making gay marriage legal, so that all Americans can enjoy the rights and privileges that mean so much to you and your wife.

Oh, and don't you think it's time to retire that old saw that compares women to cows?

Dear Amy:

I loved the letter about the mom who had her kids sing their complaints.

I need to share a memory of something I did when my two daughters were grade-school age and argued nonstop.

When the arguing seemed out of control, we often played the "Corner Game."

They each took an opposite corner of the living room and took turns. They were allowed to take a step toward each other by saying something nice about their sister. When they got to the middle they had to hug.

By the time they met in the middle of the room, we were all laughing.

These two are in their thirties now. They are best friends and still laugh about the corner game and how at first they tried hard to think of "lame" things that would qualify as nice, but not too nice, and then found themselves actually giving loving compliments!

Proud Mom

I absolutely love the "Corner Game."

I'm sure members of my family will be "playing" it quite soon. Thank you for the suggestion.

Dear Amy: I am a twentysomething female who works as an office manager and handles the phones. Could you inform your readers that I am not their "Hon," "Darling" or "Sweetheart"?

It's just disrespectful. If people want to call me something, they should ask for my name.

I'm a married woman with a degree. I deserve more respect than that, even from voices over the telephone.

Not Your Hon

You've put the word out. Let's see if people listen.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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