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by Abigail Van Buren

Third Time Won't Be Charm for on and Off Love Affair

DEAR ABBY: I met "Monique" six years ago and immediately fell hard for her. We dated for about a month. At the time she was also seeing someone else. Then one night Monique called me and said she was only going to date one guy, and it wasn't me.

Three and a half years later, she called me out of the blue and said she wanted to see me again. I was thrilled. We dated for a month; then Monique told me she didn't want to have a relationship. I was hurt again.

Seven months later my phone rang. It was Monique saying she wanted to see me. She came over and said we should get married because her daughters need to live in a better neighborhood. She now says it was a "crazy" thing for her to say, because it started our "third relationship" off on a bad note with me wondering if she loves me or my house.

It has now been more than a year. Monique says she loves me and wants commitment. She is 30 and has been divorced three times. I love her, but the way she treated me in the past makes me question whether I should trust her. Should I throw caution to the wind and propose anyway? -- CRAZY ABOUT HER IN MOBILE, ALA.

DEAR CRAZY ABOUT HER: No. Pay attention to your misgivings. They are the voice of your intuition trying to warn you. If you are determined to marry her, do not propose without first having consulted a lawyer and drafting a prenuptial agreement. It won't save you from the risk of heartache, but it could save you from economic disaster later on.

DEAR ABBY: I am in my 70s. My wife and I live in a house across the street from two middle-aged ladies. Recently some limbs from one of their trees fell onto their lawn, so I went into their yard to remove them. Rather than welcoming my help, they were upset that I went into their yard without being invited.

Abby, I was raised to help ladies, especially those living alone. I was taught that when help was needed to fix a flat tire or to do some heavy lifting, to step forward without being asked. Has the world changed so much that I was off base in doing this?

Your comments would be appreciated. We live in a small neighborhood where most people help each other and get along well. However, their reactions really bothered me. -- HURT NEIGHBOR, COWETA, OKLA.

DEAR HURT NEIGHBOR: You weren't off base; you are a gentleman of the old school. Your neighbors, however, may have been raised to be independent and not to rely on a man's help for anything.

Feeling as they do, they should have posted a "No Trespassing" sign on their property. However, now that you know how they feel about their "turf," don't go into their yard unless invited -- if then.

DEAR ABBY: I have a short-sleeved red "church" dress. What color shoes should I wear with it? It's almost impossible to find a red shoe that matches. Should I wear black or tan/taupe? -- KIMMIE IN AUBURN, ALA.

DEAR KIMMIE: During the spring and summer, accessorizing with tan or white would be attractive. In the winter, accessorizing with black would be acceptable. Or take your dress to your shoe repair shop and ask if a pair of your shoes could be dyed to match it. (I have done it and was very pleased with the results.)

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