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by Abigail Van Buren

Widow's 'Soul Mate' Is Not Ready for One Commitment

DEAR ABBY: I'm a widow in my mid-60s -- attractive, petite and active. I hate being alone. I have a friend I'll call Barney who is in his 70s. Barney's a wonderful dancer and a polished gentleman. We've known each other for 10 years.

About a year ago, our friendship evolved to the next level. We became intimate. I fell in love with Barney and thought I had finally found my soul mate.

Last month, I asked this wonderful man if he was looking for a committed relationship. Barney's answer shocked me. He said he didn't want to fall in love because he'd been hurt too many times. Then he told me he is also in a relationship with someone else! I was devastated. I cried all the way home. Barney still calls every day and invites me out. When I hear his voice, I melt.

My best friend, "Bea," is having a 60th birthday party next week. She has just informed me that Barney is coming and bringing his girlfriend! Abby, the only reason Bea invited Barney is that she and I both thought he'd bring me. I'd like to call him and ask him not to come and embarrass me. Or should I just stay home? I really need advice. -- HEARTSICK IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR HEARTSICK: Your "soul mate" either suffers from a sensitivity deficiency, or he's trying to send you a message: "Don't count on him, because he has a girlfriend." I sympathize with your disappointment, but don't let it stop you from attending the party. While you're there, get the lady's phone number and invite her for coffee. She might be interested to know how much the both of you have in common.

DEAR ABBY: I am 14. My friend, "Heidi," is well-endowed. Yesterday, she told me her stepdad pulls on her shirt so he can look down it. He says he doesn't mean anything by it, but it makes Heidi really uncomfortable. She has told her mom, but her mom just says he's not doing it on purpose, and ignores it. What should I do? Should I tell someone, or let her and her family settle it? -- SHOCKED IN FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.

DEAR SHOCKED: By ignoring it, Heidi's mother is allowing it to continue. The first thing to do is tell your mother what's going on. Then urge your friend to speak to a trusted teacher or counselor at school about what her stepfather is doing. They are mandated to report it. Go with Heidi for moral support if necessary. Her safety depends on it, because the girl's stepfather's behavior is extremely inappropriate.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 15-year-old girl who sweats abnormally. I can be sitting in class and my underarms are drenched, which is embarrassing because it can be seen through clothing. My hands and feet are always moist, and my nose often has beads of sweat.

Please help me. I'm not sure what to do. -- EMBARRASSED TEEN IN DALLAS

DEAR EMBARRASSED: You may have a condition called hyperhidrosis (overactive sweat glands). Your pharmacist can recommend a special anti-perspirant that will help -- or, alternatively, ask your mom to schedule an appointment for you with a dermatologist. There are therapies for it. Good luck.

CONFIDENTIAL TO MY CHRISTIAN READERS: A Merry Christmas to you, one and all.

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