DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend, "Jane," and I have been in love for three years. We're both in our 30s. Jane and her daughter have lived with me long enough to know that I want to be a part of -- and contribute to -- the rest of their lives. Jane knows I never want to be married, but that I am committed to her.
I would like to give her a special diamond. Is there a way to give her the moment she deserves without asking her to marry me? -- SHE DESERVES BETTER
DEAR SHE DESERVES BETTER: I doubt it. If Jane would like to be married and is open about your relationship, don't be surprised if she tells you she would rather have a proposal and a wedding than a diamond.
DEAR ABBY: My husband's parents forgot his birthday -- again. Last year, he laughed it off. This year, it wasn't so funny. It's especially hurtful because they not only remember his other adult siblings' birthdays, but throw parties or dinners for them to which we are invited.
Would I be out of line to send them a reminder next year? I just would like them to call their son on his birthday. -- CALENDAR GIRL IN ILLINOIS
DEAR CALENDAR GIRL: Why do I think there is more to this story than you have mentioned? Your husband may have done -- or not done -- something that upset his parents, and this may be their passive-aggressive way of punishing him.
Do not "remind" them of the birthday. Instead, plan a celebration for him with some of his friends, and make the occasion a happy one with no mention of his parents.
DEAR ABBY: Please explain why DJs or bands think it's appropriate to blast their music to the point that the guests have to shout at each other. I thought music was supposed to be in the background, to be enjoyed during a meal or conversation, then raised a LITTLE louder for dancing, since dancers want to hear the music.
I was at a golf tournament recently, and we asked the DJs to turn the volume down because the players were still golfing. They did, but when players started coming in, the music got louder and louder. Abby, how do you feel about this? -- TOO LOUD IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR TOO LOUD: This may happen because of the size of the room or the mood the musicians are attempting to create. However, unless music is being played in a dance club, increasing the volume to the point that attendees cannot comfortably carry on a conversation is intrusive.