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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Within the next year I will be getting married to a man who has recently ended a 12-year marriage that was troubled from day one. He and his ex-wife had purchased and lived in a home not far from the one I now own. He has improved his home over the years and the balance on his mortgage is less than half of what I owe on my home.

Since we are both approaching 50, we are seeking to establish ourselves financially after his divorce. He wants us to sell my home and move into his, although my home has greater potential for appreciation because of its location.

A number of friends have said that I should be reluctant to move into the same house he had occupied with his first wife. I have discussed this with him, and he said if selling his home and moving into mine will make me happy, we will do it. He also says there are no good memories of his marriage in that house, so "ghosts" will not be a problem. He promises we will make our own good memories and says it's not the house but what goes on inside it that matters. I'm free to redecorate however I want, and we will make it our home.

Abby, I'm confused. My practical nature tells me that the economics of moving into his home are better for us; my emotional side tells me that we should either move into my house (which has never been shared with anyone) or sell both homes and buy another one. What are your thoughts on this? -- UNDECIDED

DEAR UNDECIDED: If you can swing it financially, I vote for buying a new home.

DEAR ABBY: I read with great interest the letter from the American sailor with the Filipina wife. The lady is jealous of her husband's absences.

I was in the same situation when I was in the Navy and married my wife, also a Filipina. "Sasebo Sailor" needs to get into the local group of Filipinos in our Navy. (Our Navy recruited Filipinos in the Philippines until 1992.) If "Sailor" and his wife became socially involved in this group, she would no longer be anxious when her husband deploys.

The "bamboo pipeline" (Asian gossip) has more connections than any phone company and it's far more efficient. The Filipina (woman) will be assured that her husband is not availing himself of any other women, plus she will have a support network of people from her homeland.

My wife and I have been married for 11 years, are still very much in love, and have learned to live with our cultural differences. There are reasons why many Asian women prefer American men, and there are many American men who are crazy about their Oriental wives. -- JOE CHASSE, SAGINAW, TEXAS

DEAR ABBY: As I left the mall yesterday, I saw three boys no more than 14 years old sitting on the curb smoking!

I don't know why, but I stopped and said: "It makes me sad to see your young lungs being ruined by smoking. If only you could see the people in my condo complex with holes in their chests because they ruined their lungs by smoking, you would never light another cigarette as long as you live."

To my surprise, the three of them put out their cigarettes without saying a word.

I walked away feeling so good. -- PEGGY BERRY, MARGATE, FLA.

DEAR PEGGY: You deserve to feel good. You had the courage to speak up -- and you possibly saved three lives.

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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