DEAR ABBY: I am in my 60s. My first husband, "Seymour," and I divorced more than 30 years ago. For the last several years, every time I see him, he makes several attempts to "touch" me in some way. Seymour insists on hugging me hello and goodbye, and also tries to kiss me on the mouth. I do not encourage him in any way.
I try to avoid him when the family gathers, but Seymour comes up behind me and attempts to "sneak one in." He will use any situation to touch me in some way. If I reach for a spoon on the buffet table, he will grab my hand and squeeze it.
Seymour and I have both remarried, and my present husband, "Michael," and I are very happy –- thank you very much. But Seymour won't leave me alone. I'm always stressed out when he's around. It is impossible to enjoy myself feeling I always have to keep looking over my shoulder.
Seymour has been invited into our home a few times, for family parties involving the grandchildren. When he comes he adopts a proprietary air and acts as if he is the homeowner. Michael can't stand to be in the same room with him, and I have to watch that situation closely, too.
I have considered having Michael approach Seymour at the next party and ask him to keep his hands off me. But I'm afraid it might lead to an altercation, as Seymour is very confrontational. The reason I left him in the first place was because he was both physically and verbally abusive.
Seymour has told me he still loves me and is sorry for the past. I responded by telling him thank you for apologizing, but I felt his affection was misplaced and should be directed toward his new wife.
Aside from excluding myself from family situations that I know Seymour will be attending, what's my alternative? -- OLDER AND WISER
DEAR OLDER AND WISER: Your ex-husband's behavior could be classified as creepy. After all this time, he is still trying to assert control over you. Talk to Seymour's new wife and tell her how uncomfortable her husband's harassment makes you –- because harassment is what it is.
If that doesn't put an end to it, the next time Seymour grabs you, treat him as you would any other stranger who tried to assault you. Say, "Don't touch me. I don't like it!" And if he persists after that, the person who should be excluded from the family gatherings is Seymour -– not you.
DEAR ABBY: I need some help. The guy I live with, "Arnold," doesn't want to get married, but I do. We have been together for 19 years. What should I do?
Also, I don't love Arnold like I did. Should I try to get back with my first love or what? (It's my former husband.) We were married eight years and had three kids. They are all grown now. -- CAN'T DECIDE IN OHIO
DEAR CAN'T DECIDE: If marriage is what you really want, then you have already devoted far more time than you should have to Arnold. Because you no longer love him as you did, the time has come to make other living arrangements and go on with your life.
If you still care for your former husband, once you are on your own I see no harm in contacting him. However, a lot of water has drifted under the bridge over the last 19 years –- so don't bet that he's still available.
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