DEAR ABBY: My wife and I separated three months ago. She has moved out into her own apartment. We are not legally separated or divorced. She removed her wedding ring three weeks after she left. I want to reconcile. Whether she does at this point, she's not sure. She says she isn't seeing anyone, nor is she interested in anyone. I want to keep wearing my wedding ring, but because she's not wearing hers, I feel like an idiot wearing mine. What is the proper etiquette for us? — CAN'T LET GO
DEAR CAN'T LET GO: A wedding ring indicates that the person — female or male — is unavailable for a romantic involvement. When your wife removed her ring, the message she was sending out is that her marriage is over — whether you two are officially divorced or not. Now you need to do what is comfortable for yourself. Because you want to reconcile, give her a deadline to make up her mind whether the separation is permanent, and suggest marriage counseling to settle your differences. After that, if she still isn't interested and wants a divorce, talk to a lawyer.
DEAR ABBY: I live in an affluent neighborhood where a group of us get together for drinks, holidays, etc. But out of seven women in the group, only two or three are given birthday parties every year. The rest of us are never acknowledged — not even with a card.
I'm tired of going to celebrate someone else's birthday when mine is passed over with no mention. This may seem petty, but after years of this, it has gotten old. I've thought of saying something, but I'm not sure how to express it. Or should I just keep my mouth shut? — OVERLOOKED IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR OVERLOOKED: Is everyone in that group aware of when all of the members' birthdays are? Because you haven't spoken up, they may not be. I don't think it would be poor form to pipe up at the next get-together that "Jennifer," "Angelina," "Viola" and you also have birthdays coming up and when they occur. If none of them are acknowledged after that, speak up as a group and say humorously that your feelings are hurt. However, if still no effort is made, the four or five of you should consider celebrating your birthdays separately.
DEAR ABBY: In the last few years, a good friend has grown increasingly radical in his political views, which caused a severe rupture in our friendship. I am still hurt by what transpired because it turned personal at one point.
My friend has now written an apology for his extremism and asked for my forgiveness. I can't help but wonder whether, if the political climate hadn't changed, he would be apologizing now. How do I forgive my friend, and perhaps open a path to a renewed friendship, while I still feel this way? — NERVOUS ABOUT THIS IN NEW YORK
DEAR NERVOUS: You can (possibly) manage it by concentrating on the positive aspects of the relationship you shared rather than dwelling on the pain of the rupture. It can be done. It's called selective memory.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.