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Cousins argue over business

Dear Abby: My mom and I have been travel agents for 15 years. My cousin, whom I have always been close to, asked to join our business multiple times over the past few years and we always said yes.

A few months ago I learned that she went behind our backs and started her own travel agency. When I confronted her about hiding it from us, she denied it. Then one day I went over to her new office. She said she hadn't wanted to hurt our feelings, but she already has. She says I'm being "irrational" for not supporting her, but I think she was wrong for not joining us and going off on her own. Do you think our relationship can be saved?

-- Family Matters in Oklahoma

Dear Family Matters: Your cousin should have been forthright about starting her own business instead of hiding it. It is not "irrational" to feel hurt that she didn't level with you, and that was her mistake.

However, this is a free country, and your cousin had a right to change her mind about joining your business. Your relationship can be fixed as long as you and your mother accept that she had a right to go into business for herself if she wished, and refrain from discussing business when you're together.


Baffled over bracelet

Dear Abby: I married "Darrel" six months ago. It bothers me that he wears a silver bracelet from a relationship that ended five years ago. He claims that if I were to wear a piece of jewelry from my first marriage, it wouldn't bother him as it is "just jewelry." How do you feel about this?

-- Bothered in Daytona Beach

Dear Bothered: What I feel about this is not important; it's how YOU feel. If your husband's wearing the bracelet is a constant, irritating reminder that he was involved with someone else, he should remove it because it isn't "just jewelry" to you. And your feelings should be more important to him than the bracelet, don't you think?