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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I recently met this guy. He's unbelievable! He is sweet, charming and loving. We went to the same high school, but I didn't know him very well then. He tells me he's infatuated with me and can't stop thinking about me. He says he prides himself on being in control, but when he's with me he feels completely out of control.

We really don't date because he goes to law school three hours from my home.

He tells me all the time I have nothing to worry about because he would give me anything I want. He buys me beautiful gifts.

There is only one thing that troubles me. He has a girlfriend. He has been with her for five years. I know he loves her, but I wonder how that can be if he comes around to see me. He says he's working on breaking it off with her, but he has to take it slow. Last night he said if everything is "meant to be" it will happen, and to just follow my heart.

Abby, I'm trying not to, but I'm starting to fall hard for him. I told him I didn't want to share him. He says he totally understands how I feel. Should I continue seeing him and wait to see what happens, or break it off now? -- CONFUSED VIRGINIA TEEN

DEAR CONFUSED: You are an intelligent young woman. You can see that although this young man is sweet, charming and adorable, he isn't completely honest. A five-year involvement is usually a serious one -- so someone is going to be hurt. I don't want it to be you.

The next time you see him, remind him that he told you he'd give you "anything you want." Tell him what you want is for him to do the honest thing and inform the lady he's been seeing that he's met someone. His reaction will tell you everything you need to know about his level of sincerity.

DEAR ABBY: You frequently address family-gathering issues in your column. Last year I had the best holiday season since my childhood, and all because I declined every invitation I received.

My husband, our two children and I stayed home for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. What a stress-free experience it was! No pressure, no uncomfortable conversations, no fights -- just relaxing, delicious meals. Please pass this idea along to your readers: It is OK to decline invitations. -- COLLEEN IN WILLOWICK, OHIO

DEAR COLLEEN: I'm pleased to do so, bearing in mind the old saying, "Different strokes for different folks." Every year at holiday time I receive letters from conflicted readers who are under pressure from parents and in-laws to spend the holidays with one side of the family or the other. While those traditions can be rich and fulfilling, I advise them that it's equally important to establish family traditions of their own. Alternating holidays with extended family can also provide emotional dividends.

CONFIDENTIAL TO "WANTS TO GET RICH QUICK" IN NEVADA: The slots are not the answer to your dreams -- gamblers usually lose because the odds are not in their favor. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

Abby shares her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "Abby's More Favorite Recipes." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 per booklet ($4.50 each in Canada) to: Dear Abby Cookbooklets I and II, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)

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