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by Abigail Van Buren

News of Woman's Divorce May Change Man's Calling

DEAR ABBY: I was divorced last September and granted custody of my 3-year-old daughter. My husband and I separated soon after her birth.

While I was separated, I became friendly with an attractive co-worker I'll call "Martin." The attraction was mutual. Since I didn't announce my separation to anyone at work, Martin was unaware of it. I figured that when my divorce was final, I'd let him know and let the chips fall where they may.

A month before the divorce was granted, Martin announced that he was taking a year's sabbatical from work to enter the seminary to explore the possibility of becoming a Catholic priest. We have stayed in touch since his departure, but I still haven't mentioned the divorce.

I'm lucky to have a good job, a close family and many good friends. I enjoy spending my free time with my daughter and despite numerous offers, I don't feel the need to date. Still, I think about Martin all the time. Should I casually mention my divorce to him the next time we speak? Or should I wait to see if he chooses on his own to leave the seminary? I don't want to confuse him. Please help. -- CONFUSED IN NEW YORK

DEAR CONFUSED: I see no reason not to tell Martin the truth about your marital status. If his calling is so fragile and tenuous that he would deviate from his commitment to the church, then he doesn't have what it takes to be a priest. Joining a religious order has many rewards -- but it also requires obvious sacrifices.

It might help you to go on with your life once you understand what Martin wants to do with his. Please do not feel rejected if he chooses the priesthood. There's no reason why you can't remain friends.