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Woman is left bewildered by relative’s theft

Dear Abby: Recently, my cousin-in-law, "Carrie," attended a family party. I was happy to see her because I like her and haven't seen her since my wedding in 2011. Carrie has been going through a difficult time because of her mother's death 2 years ago and her father's remarriage plans.

I know people are prone to do odd things when under stress, but this has me concerned. During the evening, I went to retrieve an item from my handbag. Carrie was with me, and mentioned she loved my purse and then announced she was "stealing it."

I realized it wasn't a joke when she dumped the contents of my bag on the kitchen counter in front of several family members. She then handed me $10 and put my purse in her car!

I was flabbergasted and didn't know how to react. Although I had mentioned that I bought the bag at a thrift store for less than Carrie gave me, I liked it because it is a vintage item. I don't think a replacement will easily be found.

While I was always excited to see Carrie before, I am now leery of seeing her again for fear of a repeat of what she did. Am I wrong to feel offended? Do I have any hope of getting my purse back? – Stupefied in New York

Dear Stupefied: Carrie's behavior was outrageous and may indicate that she has emotional problems that should be addressed.

That you would be offended is understandable. That you would be so shocked you didn't immediately object is also understandable. The only hope of getting your purse back would be to pay this woman a visit, return her money and tell her it's time to return it. If you're up to the challenge, she may agree. But don't count on it.

Dear Abby: I have been dating "Wayne" for about a year. Everything is wonderful, but my problem is he is stingy when it comes to issuing a compliment. I'll get dressed up – makeup, hair, the whole thing -- and ask him what he thinks, and his response is always, "It's OK. You always look beautiful to me, so you don't have to dress up."

Maybe I shouldn't complain about this, but sometimes I feel Wayne would say I looked good if I were sick and vomiting into a toilet. It's not like I want him to say I look awful; I just want more of a response than what I'm getting. Any ideas on how to approach this? – Always Beautiful? in Minnesota

Dear Always Beautiful: Yes. Approach your boyfriend directly. Tell him there is something you need from him that you're not getting – and that is acknowledgment when you make a special effort. Explain that while you're complimented that he thinks you're always beautiful, you feel let down by his reaction. If he cares about your feelings, he may be a little more generous.

Dear Abby: How and when do I tell the guy I just started seeing that I have bipolar disorder? I don't want to make him think I'm crazy. On the other hand, I really like him and hope our relationship will grow into something more. I don't want to start it off with a lie. – Not Really Crazy in Massachusetts

Dear Not Really Crazy: You shouldn't start off a relationship with a lie. However, health information of any sort is personal, and it need not be revealed until you become friendly enough that there is a reason to know. Once you become good friends, you should disclose any information that is pertinent, including your diagnosis and the fact that it is being managed.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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