Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: We recently got together with extended family to celebrate a child's birthday at a family-oriented restaurant. One of the adults began bragging about how she had saved money because she paid for only one salad plate from the "all you can eat" salad bar.

When she finished eating her salad, she passed her plate to another family member, who then had his fill and passed the plate along until all their immediate family members had eaten.

We told her it was dishonest, that she's stealing food from the restaurant because she didn't pay for all the salads that were actually consumed by her family. She claimed that it wasn't dishonest because it's "all" you can eat. This has caused a huge disagreement within the family. What say you?

— STEAMED AT THE SALAD BAR IN COLORADO

DEAR STEAMED: Of course it's dishonest; it's stealing. The sign read, "All you can eat," not "All you and your family can eat — for the price of one."

I don't know what this person's financial status is, but from where I sit, she appears to be morally bankrupt, and she's passing along her lack of ethics to the next generation. Keep your distance. Folks like this are apt to help themselves to anything that isn't nailed down.

DEAR ABBY: I have a rare autoimmune disease that will end my life within a couple of years. After not dating for 15 years, I met a wonderful man. Even though I tried not to, we fell in love. I think I should break it off with him because he has lost two wives to cancer and I don't want him hurt again.

Right now my health is still halfway decent, and we can go out and have a great time together. But all that's going to happen is we will grow closer and closer, and he's the one who will lose in the long run.

He doesn't deserve to lose someone else he loves. It's not fair. Is it wrong to keep dating him, or should I break it off while we still have good memories?

— SLOWLY DYING IN TEXAS

DEAR SLOWLY DYING: Is this gentleman aware of your illness and the prognosis? If the answer is yes, then he is fully aware of what will eventually happen — and you should allow him to have a say in whether the relationship continues or not. No one is guaranteed tomorrow, next week or next year. My advice is to enjoy every precious minute you have together to the fullest, stop feeling guilty about it and live in the present.

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.