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Dear Abby: My wife and I both have professional jobs and share housework. I do all the laundry, she does all the cooking, and we share the cleaning. That's not the problem. The problem is our 7-year-old daughter "Vanessa's" habit of changing clothes whenever she feels the urge.

My logic says that by the end of the week, Vanessa should have seven dirty outfits -- one or two outfits of deviation is acceptable to me. However, that's not the case. Every week, it seems like I wash Vanessa's entire wardrobe! My wife says, "That's what little girls do."

Abby, I was raised with three brothers and my wife was raised with three sisters, so she has more experience than I do. Experience aside, I feel Vanessa needs to be talked to about not changing so often -- or at least putting an outfit back in the drawer if it has only been worn an hour or two. Help!

-- Lord of the Laundry, Rochester, N.Y.
Dear Lord of the Laundry: Glad to. At 7, your royal child is old enough to have responsibilities of her own in your castle. It's time she started helping you in the laundering department. Once Vanessa realizes that her clean clothes are a result of someone's effort and do not magically appear in her bureau, she may be more cooperative.

Breaking up

Dear Abby: A few days ago, "Deanna," my girlfriend of 3 1/2 years, told me she wanted to break up. Then we got into a serious fight and I lost my temper big time. I never hit her, but I did throw some things. She got really scared because I used to black out when I got that mad. It's the first time in three years that I was ever that mad.

Deanna went to stay with her mom because she said she was afraid of me. We have since talked a little, and she says she still cares about me. We both said a lot of things we didn't mean, and I don't know how to explain myself.

I have since started seeing a counselor to control my temper. But Deanna is giving me mixed signals about what she wants. This is making me severely depressed and I don't know what to do. Can you please help me? I love her more than anything in the world.

-- Deeply Depressed in Ohio
Dear Deeply Depressed: It's an intelligent person who recognizes that he has a problem and takes steps to do something about it. I commend you for getting professional help.

It is possible for two people who love each other to bring out the worst in each other rather than the best. When a longtime girlfriend says she wants to break up, and then follows it up by saying she "cares about you" rather than loves you, the romance is usually over.

Before trying to pursue this woman any further, you should discuss the entire situation with your counselor.

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