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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My gentleman friend and I have been together for two years. We are both widowed and own our own homes, but he lives with me. I am 69 and he is 80. He saves money by living with me. He takes me out for dinner quite often and buys small items for the house, and sometimes gasoline for my car. But I am unable to save much because I pay most of the bills.

Whenever we go anyplace, I drive because he doesn't drive very well. He calls his friends long-distance on my phone, saying he will reimburse me, but so far he never has. (I'm not sure if he's just cheap, or forgetful.)

Before I met him I was so lonely I was climbing the walls. When he came along, he filled a void in my life, but now I'm wondering if I wouldn't be better off without him.

He's not in the best of health and has no one to look after him, and I wonder if my conscience would bother me if I broke up with him.

He says he wants to get married, but will do nothing about having a prenuptial contract drawn up. My attorney says if we get married without a prenuptial contract, he could stand to get half of everything I have, but I could get nothing of his because all his assets are in trust.

I don't really want to get married, but I do feel that if he should get sick and I take care of him, I deserve to get SOMETHING. He has two sons and I have three.

He seems content to go on as things are, living in my home, with me paying most of the bills while he saves his money. I am not happy with the way things are.

I have no one I can talk to about this, so I am asking you. What would you do if you were in my shoes? -- NO NAME, PLEASE

DEAR NO NAME: Some things are worse than being lonely, and your situation appears to be one of them. If I were in your shoes, I would have a frank conversation with him, explaining your unhappiness, and insist that he pay his share of the bills. And I would not say "I do" until I had a prenuptial agreement in my safe-deposit box.

DEAR ABBY: While visiting Paris recently, my purse was stolen off my shoulder in the Champs de Mars park. I gave chase, yelling at the top of my lungs, "Stop! Help! Call the police! Help! Help!"

Bravo to the three young men from Ohio, and my congratulations to their parents for raising such heroes. They tackled the thief and retrieved my purse. And bravo to Jessica from Connecticut, who went to the police station with me and made a positive ID of the mugger.

Bravo, bravo to the French police officers who took the time to drive me all around the park under the Eiffel Tower and escort me to the Metro to try to locate the mugger.

Thanks to the cafe owner who stayed open late so my daughter and her children would have a safe place to wait for me.

What an experience -- and what a fortunate outcome! Life is good. -- MARY A. PRYOR, SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR MARY: Thanks for sharing your "All's well that ends well" experience. I love happy endings. Vive la France, and vive les tourists Americain!

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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