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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have been going with the same man for three years, and we are talking about marriage in the future. My only problem is that he wants to marry me only if he has a million dollars in the bank.

I met him like he is, and I truly love him for himself, but all he cares about is money, money, money!

Abby, is he giving me excuses? Or does he really want to give me a better life than the one we share now?

I wish I could read his mind and his heart. -- DETROIT NEWS READER

DEAR READER: Never mind his mind and his heart. Ask to read his bank statement to find out how close to a million dollars he is. If he's almost there, then I would say he has good intentions, but if he's in the neighborhood of $985,000 short, he's making excuses.

DEAR ABBY: "Lisa" and I have been best friends since high school. We even liked the same guy for a while. (I'll call him Bill.) Eventually, Lisa married Bill and I married someone else. I didn't see Lisa for several years, then one night I ran into Bill and he told me that their marriage was over, but Lisa wouldn't get a divorce because of how it would look to her family.

Not long after that, Bill and I had a one-night stand. We both felt so guilty, it never happened again. Then three months later, I saw the two of them together, and Bill couldn't look me in the eye.

Meanwhile, Lisa and I have become very close friends again, and every time we get on the subject of married people who cheat on each other, I want to tell her about Bill. I know if I tell her, I will lose her as a friend, but on the other hand, I wonder if I am being a good friend by not telling her. I'm willing to tell her, if she would just ask. Sometimes when we talk, I say something like, "I'd want to know if MY husband was cheating on ME," hoping she'll say, "So would I," but so far she hasn't.

I don't know what to do. I probably should tell her before someone else does. -- LAURA'S FRIEND

DEAR "FRIEND": With friends like you, Lisa doesn't need any enemies. Are you sure you wouldn't like Lisa to end her marriage so you could have Bill? Please do Lisa, Bill and yourself a favor and don't tell Lisa (or anyone else) about your one-night stand with Bill.

DEAR ABBY: When you get an invitation to a wedding and you can't go, are you obligated to tell them why?

I received an invitation to a church wedding that is scheduled for 10:30 in the morning. It's a good four-hour drive from where I live, and that's too long a drive and it's too early.

Also, if you get money from relatives as a gift, are you supposed to tell them what you bought, or did, with the money? -- PERPLEXED IN TUCSON

DEAR PERPLEXED: It is not necessary to state why you are unable to accept an invitation to a wedding -- or to any other affair -- but it softens the turndown if you can truthfully say that you are unable to attend due to a previous commitment or that you will not be in town.

When you receive a gift of money, you are not obligated to disclose how the money was used.

By popular request, Abby shares more of her favorite prize-winning, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a long, business size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby, P.O. Box 17, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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