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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I'm 32 years old and in love with a man I met six months ago. The problem is that I'm not sure he cares about me.

He has recently gone through a tough divorce that hurt him deeply. His ex-wife was the first and only relationship he has ever had.

Things were going well for us until a few months ago, when he told me he "needed his space." We got back together, and then about a month after that he began to slowly slip away from me again. Each week he would distance himself more, until one day I received a letter from him stating that he felt we were not meant for each other.

I love him so much, Abby, and I don't want to lose him forever. I keep hoping he'll change his mind and come back to me, because at work he still has a picture of the two of us on his desk. Does this mean something? Please help? -- HEARTBROKEN IN VERMONT

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but the timing couldn't have been worse for the two of you to have met. A man who is fresh out of a tough divorce from a wife who was his first and only love has many issues to work through before he settles down to another serious commitment.

The fact that he still keeps a photograph of the two of you on his desk means that the association is a pleasant one for him. But you're ready to get serious and he's not, so keep looking.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a senior in my 70s, and I have a theory about why women outlive men. At any senior center that has exercise, line dancing and aerobic classes, you are lucky to see one or two men participating. The women are as happy as hens in a barnyard -- dancing, exercising and giving each other hugs. I am one of the few men in the classes, and at times I'm the only man.

As I leave the classes, I notice men in the reading room sitting a mile apart with their noses buried in a book, while their wives help each other stay healthy both physically and mentally. I think the isolation and loneliness of men kill them before their time. -- FAST EDDIE, GARDEN GROVE, CALIF.

DEAR FAST EDDIE: That's a keen observation. What's astonishing is how easy it can be to reverse those unhealthy habits. Following a regular program of moderate exercise and relieving stress by communicating with others in a social environment should not only add years to men's lives, but make those years more enjoyable.

DEAR ABBY: I may be able to help "Frustrated Husband," whose wife's sex drive was decreasing while his seemed to be increasing. My husband and I were in the same situation. I was tired after working all day, then caring for our daughters and trying to keep the house straight.

Sex never crossed my mind unless my husband mentioned it. I was usually too tired or distracted by all the "to do" lists running through my mind to look forward to a sexy evening.

By chance, I started reading romance novels. Suddenly my sex drive increased dramatically. Some of them are very descriptive, and they caused me to think about sex throughout the day (something my husband says he's always done). The result is, come bedtime, I've been mentally preparing for lovemaking all day long. Sometimes I'm even the initiator. My husband and I are happier and more satisfied. -- BEEN THERE, DOING THAT

DEAR BEEN THERE: I almost ripped my bodice when I read your solution. Now why didn't that occur to me?

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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