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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Almost two years ago, I placed my beautiful baby boy for adoption. His name is William. A wonderful couple adopted him. As difficult as it was for me, I knew I was doing the right thing.

My fiance's family knows nothing about William. I want to tell them, but my fiance doesn't want me to, so I've kept quiet. This has bothered me for two years, and I carry a lot of unhappiness inside because of it.

I am considering telling my fiance's family without him present, but I'm afraid I could lose him over this. Should I allow this situation to go on and wait for my fiance to tell his family, or should I be honest with them about William? Please give me your opinion, Abby. -- BARBIE IN TEXAS

DEAR BARBIE: I admire you for wanting to level with your fiance's family. It's the right thing to do because "secrets" like yours have a way of coming to light eventually.

However, I strongly feel that you should not tell his family unless your fiance is beside you. It is important he make it clear to them that regardless of their reaction to the news, he loves you and you are the person with whom he intends to spend the rest of his life.

DEAR ABBY: I come from a large family. Because there hasn't been a family reunion for more than 15 years, I thought it was time. I contacted all my aunts, uncles and cousins and asked them to provide me with names and addresses of their children and grandchildren so I could send invitations.

After receiving the information, I sent everyone letters announcing the place and time of the reunion -- and asked them to donate $25 per family to cover the cost of food, beverages, paper goods, table rental, etc. Several of my relatives found this extremely offensive and said if they had to pay to attend a family reunion, they weren't coming!

Abby, do you think I was wrong to ask for some financial help? -- NOT WEALTHY IN TEXAS

DEAR NOT WEALTHY: No, I do not. Perhaps this is one of the reasons it has been 15 years since the family gathered. Considering the cost involved, the amount you requested was not excessive. I hope you held the reunion without the complainers and that it was a success.

DEAR ABBY: I don't know what's wrong with me. I am an 18-year-old girl, and I date only older guys who either have a girlfriend or are engaged. It's like I can't be happy with anyone single or available.

Sometimes I have even dated my friends' boyfriends behind their backs. I'm afraid in the future this will all catch up with me. I don't want to act like this anymore, Abby. I really don't. Please help. -- "SALLY" IN CINCINNATI

DEAR "SALLY": It is an intelligent person who recognizes she (or he) is engaging in self-defeating behavior -- and this certainly qualifies. I don't know if you have a fear of commitment or whether "poaching" gives you a feeling of power. Whatever your motivation, some counseling to get to the bottom of it would be very helpful. Unless you're willing to examine your behavior, the pattern will continue.

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