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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Asks How Old Is Too Old When Choosing a Mate

DEAR ABBY: I am in love with a wonderful man who meets all my specifications for a lifetime mate, except one.

He is honest, healthy, good-looking (could pass for 58 to 60), financially secure, generous, very active socially, has a great attitude on life, a great set of friends, we are sexually compatible, and he loves my family and me more than any man ever has.

My problem? He is 70 years old. I am 52. I have told him if he were 58 I would marry him.

I greatly value your opinion. Could I be making the biggest mistake of my life? -- CONFUSED IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR CONFUSED: I don't know if it's the biggest -- but it's certainly in the top 2 percent. You say he's healthy and vigorous -- what could be your fear? If it's that you might be a young widow, consider this: You could marry a younger man with whom you have less in common, but he could keel over tomorrow. None of us has a contract with God.

DEAR ABBY: I know my question is probably one that you have answered many times, but it is still on my mind.

I have met the most amazing guy -- and he's just indescribably delicious. I love him more than anything. From the first moment I saw him, it's been like magic.

I need to know: Is it possible to find true love in your teen-age years? What are the odds? And if so, what is the chance it will last? -- LIZ IN LONG VALLEY, N.J.

DEAR LIZ: Yes, it's possible to find true love in your teen-age years. I did. I was 16 when I met my husband-to-be, Morton Phillips, who was in his freshman year of college. (I didn't find out until later that he was 6 weeks younger than me!) Of course, we waited until we were 21 to be married, and people married younger back then. We've been married 62 years.

Today I advise couples to wait to marry until they have both completed their education. People grow as they mature, and sometimes they grow in different directions. I also urge young women to refrain from marriage until they have acquired enough education to support themselves and their children should they have to, because unfortunately, they often have to.

DEAR ABBY: When my children play outside, their friends ask them for snacks and drinks. While I usually encourage them to share, I simply cannot afford to feed all the neighbors' kids in addition to my own four. How do I say no and still set a good example? -- ON A BUDGET IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR ON A BUDGET: I'm not sure you should say no. Surely, once in a while you can provide something nutritious to the hungry children without bankrupting yourself. A pitcher of lemonade and a bowl of popcorn or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is affordable -- and the "fixings" can be purchased in bulk for little money. I hope you'll reconsider your stance in this matter.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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