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by Abigail Van Buren

Body-Building Husband Should Exercise Restraint

DEAR ABBY: Like the lady in Arlington, Va., whose husband lived at the gym lifting weights, I am also alone.

My husband, "Paul," is 50 and wants the body of a 20-year-old. He consumes protein drinks and energy bars, pops vitamin pills, and reads body-building magazines every day. His gym equipment amounts to several thousand of dollars. Paul is constantly after me to get into exercising with him, but I'm really not interested. Besides, I still have a pretty good figure after five kids.

Now that the kids are grown, you'd think we would spend more time together, but Paul is in the recreation room working out four nights a week, so I find myself alone. He can find the time to exercise, but no time to paint the house. I told him painting would be good exercise, but he says, "It's the wrong kind."

Abby, after 30 years of marriage, I still love Paul, and I'd never leave him, but he's really overdoing the physical fitness routine. All in all, if it were up to me, I'd prefer a husband with love handles to no love at all. -- BARBELL WIDOW

DEAR WIDOW: Perhaps I'm jumping to a wrong conclusion, but if you are literally getting no love at all, you should insist that Paul join you in some sessions with a marriage counselor.

DEAR ABBY: I never thought I'd be writing to you, but a family problem has gotten out of hand and I need the help of an objective party.

My older brother, "Victor," who is 28, attempted suicide two years ago after a messy breakup with his wife, with whom he was still in love. He now regrets the act and realizes that they married too young (at 21).

Since suicide is a crime in our religion, my parents and my younger sister, "Sarah" (who is still in college), refuse to speak to Victor.

In a few months, I plan to marry a wonderful man. We had planned to include both Victor and Sarah in the wedding party. However, each has said he/she will not attend if the other does.

My parents predict that my marriage will end as Victor's did if I allow him to come. Victor says our parents will disown me, too, sooner or later, so it may as well be sooner. My husband-to-be just rolls his eyes.

Whom should I choose, Sarah or Victor? -- DISTRAUGHT MIDDLE CHILD

DEAR DISTRAUGHT: It is your right to invite whomever you want to your wedding; furthermore, it's unfair to be put on the spot as you have been.

Anyone who says, "If you invite so-and-so, I'm not coming," deserves to be excluded. I would exclude BOTH of them.

DEAR ABBY: My mother always used to say, "The shoemaker's family goes barefoot." Well, she was right. I married a plumber, and every faucet in our house drips.

I have begged my husband to fix them, but he keeps putting me off. I tried to repair them myself and almost lost my thumb. What should I do? -- PLUMBER'S WIFE

DEAR WIFE: The biggest "drip" in your house is your husband. The plumbing in a plumber's house should be perfect, so tell your husband you'll give him one more chance before calling his competitor with instructions to put your plumbing in first-class condition, and send the bill to your husband.

For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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