Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: My first serious relationship lasted a year and ended more than eight years ago. "Stacy" was terrific, but we were very different, and our relationship came to an amicable end.

Several months later, I heard that Stacy had begun dating a close friend of mine, "Alex," soon after our breakup. Needless to say, I was devastated. Alex's betrayal was as painful or more so than that of Stacy. I broke off all contact with them in an attempt to salvage my dignity. I haven't spoken to either one since.

All these years later, I am happily married to a wonderful woman. I hear through the grapevine occasionally that Stacy and Alex are still together. Whenever I do, I feel unaccountably upset. It's not that I'm pining for an old flame, because I wouldn't trade my wife for any woman on Earth. I have thought a lot about it and believe I am clinging to the naive belief — or hope — that people who do unkind, deceitful things always come to regret it in the end.

I am grappling with the guilt of wishing unhappiness for two people who are obviously happy together. I can't help it, but I know I'd be glad if I learned they'd broken up. I am confused and embarrassed about why I even still care. Your thoughts, please?

— LACKING CLOSURE IN SAN JOSE

DEAR LACKING CLOSURE: Frankly, after reading your letter, I am a little confused, too. You say your relationship with Stacy came to an "amicable" end because you were very different. And yet, you view the idea that a friend could be interested in her as a "betrayal," "unkind, deceitful" and an assault on your dignity. It appears that after all this time, you still have not grown up.

That a happily married adult would spend his time looking back eight years to a relationship that came to an "amicable" end, and harbor the feelings that you do, is a petty waste of time. What did you expect the girl to do? Enter a convent? Stamp "taboo" on her forehead?

You say you believe in and hope for the concept of karma. Be careful what you wish for because it can rebound and affect what happens to you.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 27-year-old woman who gained some weight after I recently quit smoking. Now my co-workers and people I hardly know keep asking me if I'm pregnant.

All the weight I've gained is in my stomach. I do look pregnant. (I have two daughters, so obviously, I have seen myself in that state.)

How should I respond to these people without coming off as mean and angry?

— UN-EXPECTING IN SCHENECTADY

DEAR UN-EXPECTING: Sometimes the best way to put thoughtless people in their place is to simply tell them the truth. In your case, smile and say, "I'm NOT pregnant." I'll bet the responses you get to that statement will be interesting.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I disagree on many things, one of which I think you can help us with. When an appointment or event is changed to a later date or time, what is the correct term? My husband says the time has been "pushed back," and I say it has been "pushed ahead." Nothing is riding on this except maybe bragging rights! What do you say?

— M.W. IN NEW WINDSOR, N.Y.

DEAR M.W.: I say it has been "postponed."

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.