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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My mother is being married again this summer. This is her fifth marriage, and I fear she is doing it for all the wrong reasons.

It all started 30 years ago when, as a teen-ager, she married my father. She married him to get away from her family. My father abused her, she divorced him, then remarried him again. They stayed together 10 more miserable years before divorcing. Within three months she met and married another man. He was addicted to "the chase." Mother was his fifth wife. (He is currently on No. 8.) She divorced him and married husband No. 3, even though he was obviously drug-addicted. It eventually caused their divorce.

For the past few months, my mother has been looking for love on the Internet and through personal newspaper ads. Within two weeks, she found a man she claimed to love. They picked a wedding date. He was a drug addict and dealer who ended up taking everything from Mom's house. Fortunately, they did not marry.

Mom has recently met another man on the Internet -- a recovering alcoholic, active in meetings and social functions. Of all the men she has brought home, he is definitely the best prospect for marriage. She confided that she is not in love with him, but they have set a summer wedding date. She feels love will come later, and she "likes" him enough to marry him.

I should mention that Mother is a successful professional woman with a great job. She owns a beautiful home and is financially secure. However, she is very lonely, has no friends, rarely speaks to her 10 siblings -- and hardly ever visits me and my daughter, even though we live only 20 minutes away.

We have had a strained relationship for years. I feel that she abandons me whenever a new man enters the picture. I want what's best for her, but I don't believe she has the self-confidence or insight to pick a man who doesn't come with a lot of "baggage."

Can you think of anything I can say or do to make my mother reconsider this marriage and start getting some therapy? -- DAUGHTER OF A MARRYING MOM

DEAR DAUGHTER: I'm not sure there is anything you can do now to "save" your mother. Wait to see if marriage No. 5 "takes." If it doesn't work out, then will be the time your mother will be most receptive to getting professional help.

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I are being married in Wilmington, N.C. The pastor who will perform the ceremony lives two hours away in Raleigh. He will have to arrive in Wilmington on Friday afternoon in order to supervise the rehearsal that night -- and stay in town overnight, as our wedding is the following afternoon.

Are we required to pay for a hotel room on Friday night for the pastor and his wife? If he stays Saturday night after the wedding, should we also pay for that?

We're also unsure if we should tip him in addition to the officiant fee. None of our friends or family has ever dealt with this dilemma, so we are hoping you can set us straight, Abby. We want to do the right thing. -- ALMOST NEWLYWEDS

DEAR ALMOST NEWLYWEDS: Since the pastor will be in town officiating at your wedding, the gracious thing would be to see that the hotel bill is taken care of. If he and his wife are staying on Saturday to attend your wedding reception, the room should be included. However, after compensating him for the ceremony, I see no reason to add a gratuity.

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 $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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