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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman's 'Best Friend' May Not Be Marriage Material

DEAR ABBY: I have had an exclusive relationship with "Brad" for almost four years. We love each other dearly. We will soon be seniors in college and spend a lot of time together, including holidays, vacations and family functions. He is my best friend, and it's hard to imagine life without him.

Lately, however, as I think about our future more seriously, I am beginning to question whether Brad and I are right for each other. We do not see eye-to-eye on some important issues -- including politics, religion and having kids. It also concerns me that he's not as ambitious as I am when it comes to career goals and opportunities. Brad has never been one to plan very far into the future, whereas stability and security are important to me.

When I try to discuss my concerns, Brad claims I'm being hysterical and says, "Here we go again!" If I pursue it, we end up arguing and nothing gets resolved.

Should I break up with Brad now so that we can both meet other people in our senior year -- or am I being unreasonable? -- LOVESICK IN ILLINOIS

DEAR LOVESICK: Not at all. You are asking intelligent and mature questions about a decision that will affect the rest of your lives. I commend you for it.

Do not allow Brad to minimize your concerns and your differences. He needs to do some growing up before he makes a lifetime commitment to anyone -- including you. Some time apart would benefit both of you.