DEAR ABBY: After being divorced for nine years, I met a man I'll call Hal and married him six months later. He seemed caring, had a good personality, was good with children -- all the positive things you look for in a mate. I asked all the right questions about previous relationships, also drinking and drugs, etc. Hal told me he had been married once previously.
Two days before the wedding, I discovered he had been married twice. Two years later, it turned out that Hal had been married five times before he married me, and had lived with several different women between marriages.
He charged my credit cards to the max. I helped him to pay off past-due accounts, bad checks he had written and thousands of dollars he owed in child support. I went through drug rehab and counseling with him and supported him all the way. We are now divorced. He left me, saying he no longer loved me, and now, one week after the divorce, he has a new girlfriend.
I am furious that he treated me this way. Is there a law about how many times a person can marry? I feel other women should be warned before he takes advantage of them like he did with the six of us. -- USED IN JONESBORO, TENN.
DEAR USED: Although there is no law limiting the number of times a man (or a woman) may marry, there ARE laws against fraud. Failing to reveal the number of times one has actually been married may qualify as fraud. By all means discuss this serial groom with an attorney. It may set you back a few bucks, but a lawsuit could buy you a lot of satisfaction.
DEAR ABBY: My fiance, "Barry," and I are being married in the spring. We love each other very much and look forward to spending the rest of our lives together.
Ten years ago -- before Barry and I met -- he had a three-year affair with "Lucy," his brother-in-law's married sister. The rest of the family had no clue about their relationship. Barry ended it after he realized Lucy was never going to leave her husband.
Barry has been open with me about his indiscretion and our relationship is solid. Lucy continues to call Barry, even though he's asked her to stop. She has also called and harassed me, saying Barry will eventually leave me and return to her.
Our wedding plans are now being finalized. The invitations must be mailed in six weeks. If we do not invite Lucy, the rest of the family will wonder why. Barry believes it will raise suspicions if she is not invited. She has been very ugly to Barry and me, and I do not want her there. Please help. -- I DON'T LOVE LUCY
DEAR I DON'T: If you and your fiance would prefer Lucy not attend, don't invite her. Don't preoccupy yourselves with what your guests "might" ask; out of sight is usually out of mind.
If anyone is presumptuous enough to bring up Lucy's absence, just say, "We had our reasons," and change the subject.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Choose a job that you love, and you'll never have to work a day in your life. (Submitted by Carl Young, Union City, N.J.)
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600