DEAR ABBY: My 20-year-old daughter has been dating a wonderful young man for two years. He’s 21, almost 22. He treats her exceptionally well. 

She has decided on a whim that she has “an itch” to know what it’s like to “be with” other people! (They were each other’s first everything.) I do understand that thought or “itch,” but I don’t feel it NEEDS to be acted upon. 

When she told him, it broke his heart. When I asked him if he was OK, he responded, “No, but I will be. I just want her to be happy.” It brought tears to my eyes. He’s such a wonderful young man. 

My daughter has no idea what a huge mistake she’s making. Of course I want to support her no matter what, but I feel her actions are mean and selfish. How do I convey this to her but also be supportive?– EMOTIONAL MOM IN BALTIMORE

DEAR MOM: It is better that the boyfriend knows your daughter’s true feelings. Having said what she did has freed him to move on. 

Tell her you are glad she confided in you, you think she had a solid gold winner in the young man she has been with for the last two years, and you will always be there to emotionally support her if she needs it. That’s all you can do at this point. 

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DEAR ABBY: I gave my mom a surprise 90th birthday party. My cousin and his wife and their two adult children and three grandchildren came. I paid $23 a head for a sit-down dinner. Mom was given a scented candle from all of them, but the kicker is my cousin sells them, so it cost them nothing. Is there any way I can tell them how cheap they are without causing a war?– UNFAIR IN THE EAST

DEAR UNFAIR: I don't recommend you broach that subject the way you presented it to me. It would have been better if more thought had been devoted to selecting a gift, but what you paid for the dinner should have no bearing. 

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

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