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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR READERS: I'll be on vacation between Aug. 18 and Aug. 31. Don't panic -- I've selected some of my favorite letters from past years to fill the gap. I hope you enjoy them.

DEAR ABBY: I need help with a problem I can't discuss with anyone I know. I'm a 70-year-old widow, in good health and living in my own home, which is paid for. A man about my age has asked me to marry him, and I've said yes. He lives in another state in an apartment building he owns. He's willing to move to my town and even to my home.

My problem: Shouldn't we have a financial arrangement beforehand? He has grown children and so do I. I don't want his money, but I think he should assume my financial support when I marry him. How do I bring this up?

Should we get a lawyer? I'm afraid that would look like I didn't trust him. I do, but I want my children's inheritance left intact.

Thanks for any advice you can offer. -- SECOND TIME AROUND

DEAR SECOND: You most certainly should have a lawyer draw up a prenuptial agreement beforehand stating clearly who pays for what after you marry as well as what kind of settlement there will be should the marriage end in divorce.

You should bring it up in plain English, unless you can communicate better in another language.

He's no doubt just as eager to have his financial responsibility (and yours) clearly defined before he says, "I do."

DEAR ABBY: I would like your opinion of something my fiance said last night. I asked him if he had ever changed a baby's diaper, and he replied, "Absolutely not; the thought of it repulses me."

Abby, I am not saying this particular task should be shared equally between us, but I would like to think that if we had a child and I happened to be away for a few hours, my husband would change our baby's diaper if necessary.

What do you think? -- DECEMBER BRIDE

DEAR BRIDE: I think there should be some changes made before you have children. And for openers, one should be your fiance's attitude.

DEAR ABBY: I am the younger of two sons in a family business. My father, who runs the business, is a very impatient man. I can never do anything to please him. He finds fault with everything I do. When I try to defend myself, he just throws up his hands in disgust and walks away.

There's not a day that passes in my life that he doesn't find fault with me. I am losing confidence in myself. I do my very best, and all I get is verbal abuse. I just can't tolerate it anymore.

What should I do? -- M. IN BALTIMORE

DEAR M.: Get another job. Or find a doctor who treats ulcers.

DEAR ABBY: There is a question I have been wanting to ask you for a long time.

What do you say when some idiot comes up to you, just stands there and says, "Where have I seen you before?" -- BUGGED IN BUTTE

DEAR BUGGED: I reply, "I don't know. Where have you been?"

DEAR READERS: If you would like your letter considered for publication, please include your name, area code and telephone number.

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.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600