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by Abigail Van Buren

Divorced Dad Is Glad He Chose Family Over Fortune

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Heartbroken in Oregon," the man who is in the middle of a divorce and whose wife now wants to move their daughter out of state, really hit home. In the beginning, our divorce was far from friendly. However, we finally got over our anger and got back to the business of raising our two beautiful children. We now have a 50-50 custody arrangement, and our son and daughter are happy and well-adjusted.

Last year I was offered the job of a lifetime. It meant more money, more prestige and tremendous potential for advancement. It also meant moving thousands of miles away from my family.

My career has always been important to me and this offer was quite a prize. My ex-wife and I discussed the situation at length. We explored all possible options, but focused always on our main objective -- the best interests of the children. Ultimately, we decided that it would be best for me to turn down the job and remain in California. My ex-wife couldn't afford to relocate, and she and I agreed that the children still need both of us around on a full-time basis. Obviously, this was a huge sacrifice on my part, but one I gladly made.

Your response to "Heartbroken" was appropriate when you advised him to consider moving closer to Florida to be near his daughter. I take exception, however, to your remark that the little girl "belongs with her mother." I grew up in a family with an absentee father, so I know firsthand the pain such a situation can cause. That's why I am committed to making ANY sacrifice necessary to stay close to my kids.

Both "Heartbroken" and his ex sound as if they are thinking only of themselves. They need to buck up, quit whining, and get to work at being parents. -- LOVING THE DADDY GIG IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR LOVING THE DADDY GIG: Many readers disagreed with my statement that the little girl belongs with her mother. Since the father seemed agreeable to moving near his daughter in the future, I think my answer was on target. A short separation from her father will not have long-term effects on the child if she understands it is only temporary.

DEAR ABBY: In response to "Well-Fed in Sacramento," who was ashamed when those treating her to dinner left inadequate tips: Why doesn't SHE offer to leave the tip? This is a polite response when one party insists on paying, and it would relieve her of the embarrassment of the host leaving an insufficient tip. -- LIKES TO EAT OUT IN BOONTON, N.J.

DEAR LIKES TO EAT OUT: Now why didn't I think of that? It would work nicely if the hosts would allow it. If not, the guest could take my suggestion of leaving additional money quietly as he or she leaves the table.

DEAR ABBY: This guy (I'll call him Alan) and I broke up a few months ago. I have dated others, but he's constantly on my mind. I want to tell Alan how I feel, but I'm afraid the feelings won't be returned. To complicate matters, three of my girlfriends also have crushes on him. Nobody but me knows how I feel, and I can't take it any more. What should I do? -- HOT FOR ALAN IN BRAIDWOOD, ILL.

DEAR HOT FOR ALAN: It would have been helpful had you mentioned which one of you ended the relationship. If YOU did, there might be a chance Alan will be receptive if you confide to him that he's the kind of man who isn't easily forgotten. If HE did, stay silent.

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