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Ex-wife is man's best friend

Dear Abby: I recently began dating a dear friend of two years I'll call "Harry." We have discussed marriage, and he is keenly interested in having children. He was married to his ex-wife for 18 years and they had no children.

Abby, Harry's close relationship with his ex is making me uncomfortable. She lives five minutes away and they socialize at least twice a week. He had fought the divorce, but says he's relieved the two of them remain friendly.

I love Harry dearly, but I have told him I think that I -- not his ex -- should be his best friend. He gently told me that is out of the question, and I can expect her to attend all family holiday celebrations and other functions.

We ended our relationship as amicably as possible after he said his ex-wife laughed at my not wanting to be part of his "harem." I am devastated. Was I unreasonable?

-- Wounded in Houston

Dear Wounded: Not at all. You have my sympathy, and you were right to end the romance. Harry is still too emotionally tied to his ex-wife to be married to anyone else. And she knows that, which is why she laughed.

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Speaking of potty talk...

Dear Abby: I work in a large department store attached to a shopping mall. Because many of the stores have no restrooms, customers come into our store to use the facilities. I'm happy they do because it gives us more business. However, I'm confused by some of the patrons.

I think it shows good manners to end a cell phone call when visiting a restroom. While I was in there today, a woman entered the stall next to me and continued talking on her phone the entire time she was in there! It's disgusting, but it happens all the time. I'm uncomfortable using the restroom while someone is on the phone, and I'd be very offended if I was on the other end of the line.

What's proper etiquette regarding cell phones in public restrooms? Is there anything I could say to someone who does this?

-- Trying To Do My Business

Dear Trying: Your complaint is one I'm hearing increasingly often. For your safety, I do not advise correcting the manners of a stranger. While common sense and consideration for others (including the person on the other end of the line as well as the occupant of the next stall) would dictate conversation be put on hold while on the toilet, nothing you or I can do will prevent this invasion of personal privacy -- short of bringing a loud whoopee cushion with you during breaks and squeezing it in self-defense.

P.S. If you think we have it bad in the ladies' room, I have also heard about men talking on their cell phones while standing at the urinals. Heaven help us.

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