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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Wonders if Age Gap Can Be Bridged With Love

DEAR ABBY: Five months ago I met a man who changed my life. He is a college student, has his own business and a part-time job. He's very mature and has a good head on his shoulders. His goals in life are realistic, and he knows that it takes work to achieve them.

Two months ago our relationship progressed to another level, and we have been together every night since. Each day is better than the day before. Neither of us uses the word "love" to describe our relationship, nor do we say it to each other.

Abby, we have so much in common, but we can't overlook the fact that I am 32 and he is 21. I fear this fairy-tale relationship will end because of the age difference. Although he tells me I am everything he has ever wanted in a woman, I'm afraid he'll want a younger woman later on.

Is it possible for a relationship like this to last? -- OLDER BUT NOT WISER IN TEXAS

DEAR OLDER: You have known each other only five months, and you say that neither of you has mentioned the word "love." Although he's only 21, he's wise enough to know that if he says, "I love you," it would probably lead to a commitment he is not ready to assume.

You ask if it's possible for this relationship to last. I have no crystal ball, but if you're seeing each other exclusively six months from now and he still hasn't used the word "love," I'd advise you not to plan your future around him.

DEAR ABBY: We enjoy taking vacations with our married son and his family; it gives us quality time with them, especially the grandchildren.

However, I don't know if I can continue because their idea of a vacation is to do absolutely nothing. I do all the cooking, cleaning, washing and baby sitting. By the end of the week, I am worn out. The same thing happens when they come to our home. I would prefer to spend my time with the grandchildren. What would you suggest I do? -- TIRED MOM IN GEORGIA

DEAR TIRED MOM: Your predicament may be of your own making, because you pitch right in and get things organized without asking for help. Confer with the other adults in your family and lay down ground rules for your vacations. Parcel out duties, even to the children. Trade off on the cooking and cleaning chores, and baby-sit when it is convenient for YOU. At the start of the vacation, post a list of chores in the kitchen, and rotate the duties every few days so no one is overburdened.

You might enjoy this poem for vacationers:


by Sylvia L.K. Bundy

June is past, so is July,

August is ended -- likewise I.

The pattering feet of summer and sun

Are over, complete, exhausted, done!

I've fed the young as well as the old,

I've cooled the warm, I've warmed the cold.

The wounded and weeping I have consoled,

The tender and touchy I have cajoled.

I have steeled the scared, I have scared the bold,

I have bit my tongue till it was controlled.

I've broiled the steak, I have casseroled,

And the grocer thinks I am made of gold.

(The other bills I have pigeon-holed.)

And frankly, friends, I am ready to fold!

Next time I live I'll make the most

Of being the guest, not the host.

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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