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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a woman in my late 30s. I am on my second marriage. I was 18 when I married the first time and we had two children. We divorced while the children were young. I met another man and married him within a year. We have one child together.

Abby, I am very unhappy because I have never experienced being on my own. I have such a strong desire to do this that it is making my life miserable. I can hardly stand being home and am starting to resent my family. I love them very much, but I feel that I have missed out by never having lived as a single person. I can't imagine leaving this earth without making this one dream come true.

Sometimes on the way home from work, I feel like driving past my house without stopping. I know that isn't the right way to handle this. I'm so torn. Please help. -- WONDERING WHAT I'M MISSING

DEAR WONDERING: First of all, stop looking at living alone as an unrealized dream and think of it as a fantasy. Instead of glamorizing life alone, consider for a moment the drawbacks -- lonely nights, increased responsibilities, financial pressures, etc. Everyone wonders what life is like on the other side of the fence. Usually, reality is far different from the idealized mental image.

Talk to your husband about ways for you to have time alone: a weekend retreat, or a couple of evenings a month with female friends or by yourself. A creative compromise could save your marriage, not to mention your sanity. So please stop wondering what you're missing and thank the good Lord for what you have.

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I are planning our wedding for later this year. We love each other very much. Rarely has there been a cross word between us. We both have good jobs, our families are extremely supportive and, God willing, our future seems bright.

The problem is my fiance's upcoming bachelor party. His friends have promised to make it a "night to remember." From what I've heard, these parties have gotten wild to the point that the strippers become completely nude and dance in the faces of the men. One prospective groom had sex with one of the hired "dancers" for a last fling!

These guys think it's funny. I think it's horrible. When two people are committed to each other, why does the man need a group of naked women to paw at?

I wake up thinking about this, and I'm even considering backing out of the wedding. Is this any way to start a marriage, and am I alone in these feelings? -- ANXIOUS BRIDE

DEAR ANXIOUS BRIDE: You are not alone in your feelings, and this is no way to start a marriage. Remember, however, that the stories you have heard about past parties may be greatly exaggerated, a combination of locker room mentality and the need to brag.

Express your concerns to your fiance. If he is mature and sensible, he will respect your feelings and opt for a more appropriate bachelor party.

Everybody has a problem. What's yours? Get it off your chest by writing to Dear Abby, P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069. For a personal reply, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

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