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Welcome Mat Is Pulled Away for Guest's Guest

DEAR ABBY: I am planning an elegant celebration for my husband's 50th birthday. We'll be having a black-tie sit-down dinner, a live band and dancing, a magician and a fortune-teller.

One of the invitees shocked me yesterday by announcing that she was bringing a guest. If she had a special man in her life, I would have included "and guest" on her invitation. Quite a few people she knows will be there -- and at least half a dozen other singles.

I feel very uncomfortable that someone would consider bringing an uninvited guest to this party, and I resent the way she announced it -- without asking and giving me the option of refusing.

After spending a sleepless night stewing over it, I realized I should have told her this was an imposition. However, I was too stunned when she mentioned it and didn't acknowledge the comment.

Would I be rude to tell her she can't bring a guest to our party? -- NEEDS ADVICE FAST IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR NEEDS: No. You would not be rude to tell this woman that you and your husband have discussed her bringing a guest to his party, and you cannot accommodate her request. Explain that your guest list is limited to close friends and family only, and she will not be the only single in attendance.

It is never proper for a guest to tell a hostess that he or she is bringing another person. The proper procedure is to ask if it would be all right to bring a date -- and since that person is technically the guest of the guest, to graciously offer to pay for him or her.

DEAR ABBY: A little over a year ago, I met a nice lady and we started to date. She told me a long tale of woe -- how she had stayed with her last husband until the family business went bankrupt.

I felt sorry for her and gave her money and presents, including three automobiles, $1,000 worth of dental work and money for five months rent on her apartment.

All along, she broke every engagement we made to spend time and holidays together.

I am now behind in my bills. My charge cards are maxed out, and I am still paying for her new living room suite. She was supposed to have moved into my home by now and we were to be married. Now she says she needs three more months to "think about it" in order to be sure.

I own my own home, Abby, and do not want to lose it to this woman and her daughter, who is an attorney. Do you think I am being played for a fool? -- AFRAID IN EDGEWATER, FLA.

DEAR ABBY: You are not a fool, but you will be if you continue this relationship. Take advantage of the three months she wants "to think about it" to do some thinking of your own.

This "nice lady" seems to have a history of leaving the men in her life bankrupt; don't be her next statistic. You have taken generosity to an extreme. Next time, don't lavish gifts on a woman until you know she likes you for yourself -- not for what you can give her.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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