Dear Abby: I have just had a huge argument with my boyfriend that was very disturbing. We are both 22. He is angry because I refused to let him read my diary. He said that when two people are in love (and we are), there should be no secrets from each other.

Abby, I don't write dark and dirty secrets in my diary; I record certain events and also express my feelings rather then keep them bottled up inside. It also helps me blow off steam and sort out my thoughts.He says, "That's what I'm here for!" He thinks if he reads my diary, he can help me sort out my problems. He doesn't see that it makes me feel violated.

Abby, I tried explaining that one's privacy is part of being an individual. He said that two should be the same as one, and maybe I didn't want to become part of his life. He says he doesn't keep anything from me, and I shouldn't keep anything from him.

No matter how I try to reason with him, he doesn't understand. We really love each other, but his insisting that he must know my most private thoughts is driving me away. What are your thoughts on this?

- Private Person

Dear Private Person: This argument is not about your diary - it is about his need to deny you the right to have private thoughts. After you told your boyfriend that his reading your diary would be a violation of your privacy, he should have backed off.

In the words of Kahlil Gibran when speaking of love, ". . . let there be spaces in your togetherness."

He is your love interest - not your therapist. Don't let him bully you into caving in.

Dear Abby: Today my adult son, who is here visiting me, bawled me out!

As he was leaving the house for a bike ride, I called after him, "Be careful, son!"

Stopping short, he shot back, "For heaven's sake, Ma, I am a 44-year-old man, but every time I go out, you or Dad warn me to be careful!"

You know what, Abby? He has a point. We parents get into a rut, warning our kids always to be careful.

I am going to try hard to cut that out - and to say instead, "Enjoy yourself" or, "Have a good ride!"

That may surprise him so much, it just might make his day!

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- Nancy L. Fox,

Ashland, Ore.

Dear Nancy: No harm in repeating a warning, but try this: "Have a good ride and enjoy yourself, but there are a lot of nuts driving around, so be careful, son. I love you!"

Confidential: To "New Mother of Physically Challenged Child": Helen Keller once made this statement: "I believe every child has hidden away somewhere in his being noble capacities which may be quickened and developed if we go about it in the right way."

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