DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced for 4 1/2 years, after a 24-year marriage. For the last 3 1/2 years, I have been seeing a woman I'll call "Marilyn." My problem is I have proposed to Marilyn on two occasions, and she has said no both times -- yet she continues our relationship. I am 49 and she is 45.
Marilyn has never been married and never left home. She lives with her mother and 15-year-old daughter. We all get along great. I guess my question is, do I continue with the way things are, or should I try to meet someone else, take a chance and start all over again? -- WANTS A WIFE IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR WANTS A WIFE: You're asking the wrong person the wrong question. You should be asking yourself why you're continuing to pursue a woman who has rejected you twice. If you're happy as things are, I won't dissuade you. However, if it's a wife you're after, you should move on. As my grandfather used to say, if you're looking for trout, you won't find it fishing in a herring barrel.
DEAR ABBY: I love my fiance. We're supposed to be married soon. I can envision myself with him in the future, but I have never really been out on my own to experience life.
I think I may be bisexual. I have been attracted to a woman at work for about a month now, and I can't get her off my mind. I do want to be with my fiance -- just not right now. But if I tell him I want a break to explore who I am, I'm afraid I'll lose him forever. Please help. -- LONGING FOR SPACE
DEAR LONGING: You may love your fiance, but you are not ready to make a lifetime commitment to one person right now -- male or female. To do otherwise would be unfair to both of you.
The time has come to level with your fiance. It may -- or may not -- spell the end of the relationship, but it could also be the beginning of something more important: getting to know yourself.
Under no circumstances should you take a vow "to forsake all others" until you're absolutely sure you're able to follow through.
DEAR ABBY: I am 45 years old and in great shape. I have always taken care of myself by watching what I eat and exercising on a daily basis. I take pride in my physical and mental health, and take steps every day to achieve my goals.
People often tell me I don't need to worry about my weight, etc. Actually, I look the way I do because I DO worry about my weight!
So why do these comments bother me? And why do people make these comments? -- FULLY ALIVE AT 45
DEAR FULLY ALIVE: The remarks bother you because they negate the fact that you work hard to be the person you are. And people make them because they fail to appreciate that being mentally and physically in tip-top condition takes discipline and is an ongoing process.
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-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600