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Man on the Verge of Divorce Can't Seem to Seal the Deal

DEAR ABBY: I am three years into a relationship with Harold, a man who is separated but not divorced. We both have grown children. Harold was separated when we got involved. He has since moved in with me and is an active bill-paying member of the home.

I was also separated from a brief marriage when we met, and divorced shortly after we started dating. My assumption was that Harold would also be divorcing. As of now, the paperwork remains partially filled out, but no legal proceedings have begun.

I hate this. I have talked to him about it many times, so he knows my feelings. I'm at the "do it or leave" point, but can't seem to get over the hump. I do not plan on marrying -- I just want him to be divorced. What should I do? -- LOOKING FOR LEGALITY IN WASHINGTON

DEAR LOOKING: When you became involved with Harold, did he tell you he was planning on divorcing his wife? There could be reasons why he hasn't gone through with finalizing it. One of them could be religious; another might be financial. A third, the fear that his relationship with his children -- and grandchildren, if there are any -- will be permanently damaged. Or, that marrying you wasn't his objective in the first place, and your saying you didn't want to remarry made you more attractive to him.

If remarriage isn't your goal, why is his finalizing his divorce so important to you? Before you issue an ultimatum, it's crucial that you understand the answer to this question. After that, you will know what -- or what not -- to do.

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