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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Ricardo," and I have an ongoing dispute over money. He does not save or plan for the future. He thinks that if he wants to buy something, I should provide him with the money.

Ricardo quit his job before finding another, and I have ended up paying his living expenses. Several months ago, I loaned Ricardo money to buy a car. He's repaid half but still owes me the balance. He's borrowed more money since then to buy a present for my birthday.

My baby sitter quit last week, and Ricardo offered to watch my son until I find another sitter. When I told him I was unable to pay him the full amount I had paid the sitter, he became angry and accused me of never helping him or ever loving him. He says I am taking advantage of his kindness because I am working and he is not.

I have really tried to help Ricardo, but I think it's nervy of him to be asking me for more money when he owes me close to $1,000. What do you think? -- ALMOST BROKE IN BALTIMORE

DEAR ALMOST BROKE: I agree with you. Your boyfriend has turned mooching into an art form. Stiffen your backbone, tell him the bank is closed, and go on with your life without him. He's a bottomless pit.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 35-year-old woman. Two years after my divorce, I started dating a sweet man I'll call "Tony." He adores my 4-year-old daughter, "Emma," and she adores him.

Last week I learned I am pregnant with Tony's child. He's overjoyed. The night I told him, he proposed marriage and I accepted.

I also told my ex-husband, "Rod." He called me some vulgar names for getting pregnant before marriage. Now he threatens to tell Emma that what I have done is wrong. I know I made a mistake and I feel terrible. I don't want Emma to think it's OK to have premarital relations, and I don't know how to handle this. Any suggestions? -- TROUBLED AND PREGNANT IN MINNESOTA

DEAR TROUBLED: As vindictive as your former husband may be, let us hope he's not so twisted as to try to explain the dos and don'ts of premarital sex to a 4-year-old who doesn't yet know the facts of life.

Solidify your marriage plans immediately -- before your little girl understands the significance of counting to nine.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I lived in a small apartment with our two young chldren in a bad part of town. When "Cousin Ramona" offered to rent us half of her large home in a nicer area, we jumped at the chance. It meant we'd be sharing the house with Ramona and another female renter, but we didn't mind.

Since we moved in, it has become clear that the female renter (age 19) is a real party girl. When I asked our cousin if any guys would be spending the night, she said no. Well, after only one week, our housemate started having a male visitor regularly for evenings and overnight stays. He also helps himself to our food. I am livid. I made a comment to Ramona about this "guest." She got uptight and said it was no big deal, and it shouldn't matter to me.

Well, Abby, it DOES matter. Our kids are 2 and 3 years old, and this isn't the kind of atmosphere I want them exposed to. Am I wrong? -- HELPLESS IN TACOMA

DEAR HELPLESS: Certainly not. You and your husband are responsible for setting the standards your children will live by. Waste no time in checking the classified ads for another place to live. The living conditions in your current dwelling are not as they were represented.

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

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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