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by Abigail Van Buren

Bride Has Second Thoughts About Second Time Around

DEAR ABBY: I am engaged to be married on Valentine's Day. He is a wonderful man; we have been together for three years. It will be the second marriage for both.

I really like this man. He's funny, witty and kind. He loves me and my children, and they love him very much.

My problem is I do not feel that we're soul mates. Is this just a fantasy? What if I'm making another mistake? I don't want to hurt anyone, but I can't help feeling that since I don't feel butterflies after being with him for more than three years, something is missing.

Am I being silly or looking for something that does not exist? -- STILL LONELY IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR STILL LONELY: The thing about "butterflies" is, if you don't catch them and mount them, they tend to fly away. I often suspect that when people talk about butterflies, they are describing a mixture of anxiety and excitement otherwise known as infatuation –- which isn't permanent.

However, if you truly feel lonely when you're with this funny, witty, kind and likable man, after three years of dating, then he isn't the life partner for you. Let him go. It wouldn't be much of a marriage if you felt you were in solitary confinement.

DEAR ABBY: I'm getting married in the summer. Everything is great except for one issue that is about to explode. I have two nieces, 3 and 8, who will be flower girls along with a third girl. My fiancee wants the girls to be taken to another room with a baby sitter after the ceremony and cocktail hour.

I fear an ugly scene because my older niece and I have a special relationship, and she loves weddings. My family would like her to stay for the reception.

It's the bride's day, of course, and I want her to have the wedding of her dreams. How should I handle this? -- GROOM-TO-BE WHO NEEDS HELP

DEAR GROOM-TO-BE: Handle it firmly. The wedding is not only the bride's day, it is also your day. While I understand the wisdom of the small children being entertained separately, the 8-year-old should be mature enough to behave properly at the celebration. Since you want her there, she should not be excluded.

DEAR ABBY: My 10-year-old son is extremely sensitive. The kids in his class know it and love to pick on him. I've talked to his teacher, but she can't seem to catch them in the act.

I don't know what else to do. He is becoming depressed and eating less and less. I'm worried about him, but I don't know what to tell him to make him feel better. How can I help him? -- CARING MOTHER IN GEORGIA

DEAR MOTHER: Get your son involved in outside activities and give him a chance to cultivate new friends who haven't been influenced by his classmates. This will also give him a chance to excel at something that interests him. Being bullied is something that can affect a person's self-image for many years. Some sessions with a counselor to help him build self-esteem may also be in order.

P.S. Most important, notify the school principal, who can and should implement a "zero tolerance" policy toward bullying.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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