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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have finally found the love of my life. (I'll call her Muriel.) We spend almost all our time together. We share similar interests; we laugh and cry together. Muriel and I do not live together, but we have a sexual relationship and believe we are soul mates.

There's one big difference between us that's causing a major problem: We have different "body thermostats," which makes sleeping together difficult. When I am comfortable, Muriel is shivering. When she's comfortable, I am too warm.

When I visit her apartment, it's overly warm and stuffy with little ventilation. Muriel in turn complains about how chilly I keep my house.

I am at my wit's end about how to solve this. I care enough for Muriel to want to spend the rest of my life with her, but if we can't be comfortable sleeping in the same bed, how can we possibly last? Your thoughts, please. -– SLEEPLESS IN TOLEDO

DEAR SLEEPLESS: Your beloved is the kind of woman for whom flannel was invented. Please don't let it come between you.

DEAR ABBY: I'm writing about the letter you printed from the woman whose mother wants to celebrate her 50th anniversary surrounded by family and friends, even though her husband has been dead five years.

You stated that she hadn't properly dealt with the death of her husband and could be in a stage of dementia. You advised a medical and psychological evaluation at the time of her next annual physical –- if not sooner.

Well, Abby, I personally think the mother's idea is wonderful! Why anyone would condemn her idea and say it would look foolish is beyond me. It's romantic and wonderful that this woman wants to celebrate a lifetime of love and memories -– after all, that's what anniversaries are all about.

Yes, it's sad that her husband will not be there in body. But it seems to me that Mom's intent is that he be there in spirit. Placing a photograph at his place setting to honor his memory is not exactly saying she expects him to walk in, sit down and dine. A family portrait that includes Mom holding his picture is hardly something to get hot and bothered over, either. I think it's a thoughtful way of saying her husband is still in her heart and memory.

Abby, I'm sure that woman is well aware that her husband is dead. She probably cared for him while he was dying, and now lives every day in an empty house surrounded by memories of their life together. I see no crime in wanting to share this memory with family and friends. For you to say the mother may be suffering from dementia because of this is insulting.

In my opinion, the family and friends should be more supportive. Perhaps her 50th anniversary celebration is a last-ditch effort to get those around her to acknowledge her husband's life instead of dwelling on the tragedy of his death. -- MOURNING FOR MOM IN TEXAS

DEAR MOURNING: Your letter is not the only one I received from readers who disagreed with my answer. And you could be right. Perhaps I analyzed the letter too much with my head and not enough with my heart. After all, by marking what would have been her 50th anniversary with a celebration of her marriage, she would be hurting no one. And if it brings her comfort -- why not?

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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