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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am 44 and have been divorced for two years. I recently met a very attractive man who has been unhappily married for 25 years. The only reason he is not divorced is money -- it would break him.

I went to bed with him on our first date, and it was wonderful for both of us. After that we saw each other almost every night for two months. Then he said we were getting "too close," and suggested that we end our relationship and just be "friends."

I explained that I was in love with him and couldn't be his "friend." I know he has feelings for me, but he's too stubborn to admit it.

I have not been with any other men since I met him. I've called him a few times, and can tell by his voice that he still cares for me. I asked him if he still loves me and he said, "It doesn't matter -- we just can't see each other anymore."

Abby, why is money more important than his true feelings? He is in his 50s and has everything a man could want, but he doesn't have the love I'm offering him. What should I do? -- CONFUSED AND HURTING

DEAR CONFUSED AND HURTING: Keep looking for a man who's available. Not every man is willing to sacrifice everything for "love." This one may care about you -- but he cares more about the assets he's accumulated and is unwilling to divide them to pursue a future with you.

DEAR ABBY: I have had enough of the letters from people who ask you to fight their battles for them. I am referring to those who ask you to print a column on what not to say to overweight people, what not to say to a recent widow or widower, and what to say (or not say) to a childless couple, etc.

Abby, your advice to them should be to tell people exactly how they feel instead of waiting for you to tell them.

When my beautiful 5-year-old daughter lost all her hair when she had chemotherapy for cancer, I didn't write to Abby and ask her to tell people to be more sensitive to those who suffer from cancer.

I politely told people my daughter was recovering from cancer. When she was confined to a wheelchair, we took her to the mall to window-shop and ignored those who stared and asked questions.

And by the way, I think "Sympathetic in Seattle's" sister-in-law should be more sympathetic to those of us who have lost a child. I hope she'll never know firsthand what a terrible comparison she makes insisting that failure to conceive a child is the same as losing a child in death. I respect the fact that she's disappointed and upset, but she's comparing a paper cut to a gunshot wound.

Believe me, if I ever heard her say that, I'd tell her that to her face and not wait for Abigail Van Buren to write it in her column. -- PEEVED IN PENNSYLVANIA

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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