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by Abigail Van Buren

Girlfriend's Big Diamond May Be Too High a Price to Pay

DEAR ABBY: I'm 28, my girlfriend is 32. We've been dating for three months and care about each other, but there are a few issues I'm afraid spell "trouble ahead."

When we discussed our future, she told me she had requirements. She wants a one-carat emerald-cut diamond, and it will cost me between $5,000 and $7,000.

What happened to the days when a woman who loved a man would take whatever he gave her and appreciate it? When I asked her that question, she said a marriage is an investment, and the man should show his love by giving her something she really wants to prove his love for her.

She is also very attractive and has a nice figure. She wears miniskirts and is always talking to the guys who talk to her first. She flirts with them while I'm with her. She receives calls on her answering machine on a regular basis, and I'm feeling jealous, hurt and anxious about it. She says she needs attention from men. I feel that since we're dating exclusively, she should advise the guys who are calling that she's seeing someone. She does seem to be notifying them -- but the calls continue to come in. Lots of them.

I just started a new job, and it will be a long time before I can afford a ring that costs as much as the one she wants.

What are your thoughts on this, Abby? -- ON THE SPOT IN FLORIDA

DEAR ON THE SPOT: A woman who defines marriage as an investment, and insists that the man prove his love by the size of the diamond he gives her, is more focused on what she can get than she is on the man.

The number of men who have her phone number is also of concern to me. If she were in love with you, she would not constantly crave attention from other men.

I'm pleased that you just started a new job and it will take a long time for you to save up for that ring. It's imperative you learn much more about her before you invest in a lifetime commitment.