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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Sees an Opportunity to Break Bad Luck at Love

DEAR ABBY: I am a 35-year-old single woman who has had terrible luck with men. I've always been attracted to great-looking guys who turn out to be complete jerks.

I have recently started to get to know a man who works for the same company, but in another city. We talk on the phone several times a week because of our jobs. He is nice, kind and has a big heart. We finally met last week. I introduced myself and we talked like old friends. We didn't even realize there were other people in the room. He called me the other day and asked me out. I'm really excited about it.

Here's the catch: My co-workers tell me not to go out with him. They say he is not "my type" -- that he's not good-looking enough. Abby, I want to go out with him and get to know him better. His looks don't matter to me. (I think he may be "the one.") I love my co-workers and usually care what they think. Now I don't know what to do. Help! -- LOOKING FOR LOVE, NOT LOOKS

DEAR LOOKING: "They" won't have to live with him. You will -- if he is indeed "the one." And remember, real beauty is from within.

Go out with him and get to know him, but take plenty of time before deciding he's your Prince Charming. First impressions can be misleading. Love may be blind, so use your head in addition to your heart, and you won't go wrong.

DEAR ABBY: Last summer, before we were married, my fiance, "Justin," and I had a conversation that led to him telling me that he thought my mother was prettier and more sexually attractive than I am. I was devastated. I am the spitting image of my mother. He later apologized for what he said and we moved on. However, it took me months to regain my self-esteem to a point where I could even look at myself in the mirror.

Justin has always been the type to prefer older women. In fact, he has dated several. (He is 6 1/2 years older than I am.) I cannot help but feel he would rather be with my mom. It doesn't help matters that my mother is the biggest flirt I know. She flirts constantly with Justin, and when I confront her about it, she tells me I am "overreacting."

Even now, after more than a year, I still get bouts of depression that leave me feeling worthless. Although I know he loves me, I feel he will never look at me and see someone as sexy and beautiful as my mother. What do I need to do to get over this? -- HURTING IN CANADA

DEAR HURTING: You need to get counseling, because you must come to terms with your relationship with your competitive and insecure mother and the damage she has done to your self-esteem.

You ARE the one your husband wants to be with. But I don't think you will truly accept that fact until you have resolved, with professional help, your relationship with your mother. Please don't wait. You'll be glad you did.

DEAR ABBY: I am planning to propose to my girlfriend of five years. Do I need to ask her father's permission? And when is the appropriate time to do so? -- JACK IN LONG BEACH, CALIF.

DEAR JACK: Asking the girl's father for permission to marry her is a charming but somewhat outdated custom.

First, ask your girlfriend -- and then the two of you should approach her parents with the happy news.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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