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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: After a long and happy marriage, I became a widow three years ago, and am soon to marry an old family friend, "Vernon." His wife was a dear friend of mine who was killed several years ago. Vern and I are trying to get our personal business in order ahead of time, so there will be no ill feelings among our adult children.

When I die, I will be buried next to my first husband, and Vern with his late wife. My question is, how should my name appear on the headstone, considering the fact that I plan to become "Mrs. Vernon Jones" when we marry?

My son is upset that I'd give up the "Smith" family name. I don't want to create friction between my son and my new husband, but I do plan to take Vern's last name and am surprised at my son's strenuous objection.

How should this be handled, Abby? -- "MRS. SMITH" IN MARIETTA, GA.

DEAR "MRS. SMITH": The name on your headstone should probably read "Jane Smith Jones" to avoid confusion. Although it is upsetting to your son that you have chosen to adopt your new husband's last name, he will have to adapt to reality. One lesson I have learned over the years: You cannot solve every problem -– particularly if the problem isn't yours to begin with.

DEAR ABBY: For the past eight months, I've been involved with a wonderful, kind-hearted man who showers me with affection and says he loves me. I'll call him Hank.

Hank likes the idea of kids and family and is very family-oriented, as am I. My main concern is he has trouble keeping a job. His pattern has been that he finds a job but only works for a short time, then something always happens, and he either gets fired or laid off.

We had started planning our wedding, but my family doesn't like him, and that –- on top of his job situation –- has put a lot of stress on me. I finally told Hank that I won't marry him until he proves he can support himself and a family.

Is it possible that some men are simply not cut out to work outside the home? Maybe he's the "Mr. Mom" type. What should I do, Abby? -- BRIDE-TO-BE (OR NOT) IN DAYTON, OHIO

DEAR BRIDE-TO-BE (OR NOT): Yes, some men are better suited to be the "house spouse," and some women are better suited to life in the business world. However, this does not seem to apply to you. Continue to put this union on hold unless you know you will be content as the primary breadwinner of your family.

DEAR ABBY: For the past year and a half, I've been dating a 41-year-old man named "Gino." I spend every weekend at his place. My problem is I am still living out of a suitcase. Gino hasn't offered me a place to keep my things, and I'm tired of taking clothes and personal items back and forth. It feels like I'm homeless.

Gino also won't answer the phone or check his messages when I'm there. When I mention it, he accuses me of being suspicious and too sensitive. Should I continue with him or pack it in? I should add that we have lots of fun, and he's told me he loves me. -- TIRED OF LIVING OUT OF A SUITCASE, WEST ORANGE, N.J.

DEAR TIRED: If you want a seven-day relationship or a permanent place in this man's life, "pack it in." Gino appears happy with things just as they are, and as much as he loves you on the weekends, he loves his freedom more.

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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