Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Flirting Fiance Appears Not Ready to Be Married

DEAR ABBY: I am a 22-year-old woman who has been engaged to "Bill" for nine months. We plan to be married next spring.

Bill and I were friends for years, but last year we started dating and got serious. We have been very happy until just recently.

My best friend, "Molly," and Bill have been spending a lot of time together. He helped her move, runs errands with her, and has even gone so far as to work overtime, but only at midnight -- when Molly works.

The two of them are always giggling, playfully grabbing and slapping each other's arms -- and when Molly's around, Bill ignores me completely. We haven't made love in more than two months. However, Bill and Molly's conversation is laced with sexual innuendo.

Am I correct to assume that Bill is having an affair with her? I've confronted him, but he says I'm jealous and insecure because my last relationship ended when my ex cheated on me. Is he right, Abby? Or is he a cheating dog?

I love this man with all my heart and want to trust him, but my gut tells me otherwise. -- DOUBTING HIM IN SARNIA, ONTARIO

DEAR DOUBTING: Listen to your gut. Even if there is no affair, you're picking up on "vibes" of sexual attraction and tension. If he's this easily distracted and going out of his way to be with other women before you're married, imagine what it will be like afterward.

Do not marry this man without premarital counseling. It will give you both an opportunity to express what you expect from each other.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were married six months ago. We've known each other since we were kids. As teenagers, we were both in and out of trouble. A year ago we faced a substance abuse problem together and took steps toward making a fresh start.

When we tied the knot, we made a commitment to put our past behind us and move forward as partners. However, two months after our wedding, my husband came home one night and said he felt trapped and wanted to be free.

He left me and started drinking and doing drugs again. I am committed to staying clean and sober. Although I know I had no control over him, I begged him to come home so we could work on his addiction.

After being gone for two weeks, he returned home and promised never to leave me again. He said he had just needed time to realize what we had.

Now, four months later, I have discovered his boss fired him for using heroin. So what did my husband do? He left me again. Two days after that, I filed for divorce. But I love him so much I can't stop asking myself if I did the right thing. Should I have given my marriage a little more time, Abby? -- STILL IN LOVE WITH A NEW ORLEANS DRUGGIE

DEAR STILL IN LOVE: I don't think so. His relapse into heroin use makes it apparent that he hasn't licked his addiction, and it is vital that you not allow yourself to be dragged down with him.

If, at some later date, he is able to manage his sickness -- and addiction is a sickness -- you can revisit the question of whether he's a suitable lifetime partner. But for now, I'd say you did the right thing.

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.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600