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Abigail van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been in a long-distance relationship for 2 1/2 years. We now are engaged but haven’t set a date for our wedding.

We are both in the military, and we have maintained this relationship well. But there was a time before we dated I was dating someone else. I ended that relationship but haven’t healed from it because I see him at work often, and I still have feelings for him.

He lives in my neighborhood, and I enjoy talking to him. I like the attention he gives me, and I’m attracted to him. I blame the geographical distance from my fiance for this. I want someone close, and I would love for it to be the person I am engaged to, but although I try to abstain from this other person, I find myself drawn to him. — Caught Between Two

DEAR CAUGHT: You say you have been together with your absent fiance for 2½ years but still are carrying on an emotional affair with the man you broke up with. When you say you are “trying to abstain” from this person, clearly you can’t.

What is going on isn’t fair to the man you are engaged to. If he knew, I’m sure he would agree. Do not chalk this up to “when I’m not with the man I love, I love the one I’m with.” Be honest about what you really want, follow through, and you won’t be writing me again years from now asking what to do.

DEAR ABBY: I am a hairstylist with a client who was referred to me by a mutual friend, “Rita,” from high school. Rita is also a client, and we go back 20-plus years. The client, who’s close friends with Rita, is picky and a terrible tipper.

She box colors her hair at home, but comes to me for her haircuts. I offer her 10 percent off of her haircut for prebooking, so she gets a $35 service for $31.50. She usually tips me $3.50. She keeps asking me to sell her hair products at a wholesale cost, which I do for my family and for Rita but no one else.

Cutting her hair is a chore because she’s never completely happy with the service and has asked to come back for free retouching. If she were anyone else, I’d part ways with her, but because of her close relationship with Rita, she sometimes comes to dinner with us on girls’ nights and is involved in our group chats.

Is there a discreet way to end this business/client relationship without screwing up my friendship with my high school pal? I’m tired of dealing with her, but I don’t know how to get out. — Cutting Her Out

DEAR CUTTING: Handle this by telling Rita what you have written to me and explaining the two of them might be friends, but you no longer want the woman as a client. Then, sweetly tell the woman the next time she calls your professional relationship doesn’t seem to be a good fit because she has voiced dissatisfaction with your work. Then, offer to refer her to someone else. Not every client is a good fit and vice versa. It’s a fact of business life.

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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.