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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Builds Verbal Walls Between Wife and Her Friends

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 43-year-old woman who has never been married. My boyfriend, "Phil" -- with whom I share a wonderful relationship -- has been divorced three times and has made it clear he does not want to marry again.

We're in the process of buying a home together, and I cannot let go of the hope that one day we'll live in it as husband and wife. It has always been my dream to find that one "right" person and settle down. In my eyes, Phil is that special person. I feel cheated that because of his failed marriages my hopes and dreams don't matter.

Phil loves me and is good to me, but I have mixed emotions. I feel that having shared an exclusive relationship for two years and the fact that we are now buying a house together means we should be married. Must I accept the relationship we have? -- DREAM LOVER IN MINNESOTA

DEAR DREAM LOVER: No. What you must accept is that your dream and Phil's are not the same. You yearn for commitment, something which from his track record it appears Phil has trouble with.

If marriage is what you really want, you're betting on the wrong horse, and before investing in something as expensive as a home, I urge you to discuss this significant financial commitment with an attorney to ensure that your interests are fully protected.