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by Abigail Van Buren

Man's Reluctance to Marry Is Breaking Fiancee's Heart

DEAR ABBY: Six years ago, I met a man who seemed to adore me. We fell in love, he gave me a ring, we talked marriage and bought a beautiful home together. Sounds great, doesn't it? Here's the problem: We're not married yet!

I waited four years for him to set a date. He never did, so I finally got up enough nerve to ask him. He replied that he was "nervous" about the thought of marriage. I felt emotionally abandoned by his reply. Since that time, my self-esteem has almost disappeared.

Friends, family and co-workers ask me (especially around Valentine's Day), "When are you two getting married?" I joke and say, "Don't get so worked up -- it's only a piece of paper," but my heart feels like it's breaking because I know marriage is the ultimate commitment of love, and I can't bear to tell them the truth. (I'm good enough to sleep with, but not good enough to marry.)

I still love this man with all my heart, although I know I will probably go to my grave without a wedding band or the children that I long to have.

Abby, please tell your readers who are considering living with their lovers to wait until after the wedding. -- SETTLED FOR LESS

DEAR SETTLED FOR LESS: I'm printing your message in its entirety, although your signature says it all.

You are long overdue in re-evaluating your priorities. A wedding band and children are a lot to give up for a piece of real estate and a boyfriend who can't make a serious commitment.

Perhaps soon you'll reclaim your self-esteem and present your roommate with an ultimatum. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Trust me.

DEAR ABBY: Last Nov. 11, when we celebrated Veterans Day, I was asked why veterans used to stand facing east at 11 a.m. for two minutes of silence. The only answer I could find was "east is the direction of Europe."

Do you have any background information on this tradition? -- MARK H. GRAMS, DODGE COUNTY VETERANS SERVICE OFFICE, JUNEAU, WIS.

DEAR MARK: Your research was correct. The armistice that ended World War I was signed on Nov. 11, 1918, near Paris, France. Although it was signed at 5 a.m. in a railroad car in the forest of Compiegne north of Paris, the hostilities were not formally ended until 11 a.m.

The custom of facing east was a tribute to the 10 million military personnel who died and the 20 million who were wounded. Tragically, at least 5 million civilians were lost to starvation and disease during that devastating war.

DEAR ABBY: I laughed out loud when I saw the recent item in your column about errors in church bulletins. I thought you might get a chuckle out of the typographical error that occurred in our church calendar.

"BURNING BOWL SERVICE: Jan. 5, 2 p.m. During the burning bowel service you are given the opportunity to let go and release anything unwanted in your life." -- JANE BARNETT, FORT COLLINS, COLO.

DEAR JANE: I'll bet the church was flooded with laughter.

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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