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by Abigail Van Buren

Couple Flirts With Marriage for a Second Time Around

DEAR ABBY: Do you have any data on the success of remarrying your ex-spouse? After being married to my husband for 25 years, we divorced due to his infidelity. We have been divorced for eight years and have had no contact.

A family member's funeral brought us face-to-face again, and we have been in touch ever since. Neither of us has remarried or been in a relationship. We realize that we still have feelings for each other and have discussed remarrying in the future.

I love him, but I'm wary of being hurt again. What do you think? Does remarrying your ex ever work? -- HAVING SECOND (TIME) THOUGHTS

DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: It can work, provided you're both willing to deal with the issues that broke you up in the first place. By that, I mean that you must be ready to examine whether there was something missing in the marriage that caused your husband to cheat, or whether he has a character flaw and would repeat his infidelity.

I strongly recommend you do this with the assistance of a licensed marriage counselor. If you both go through the process, remarrying your ex could work. If you don't, you would be courting another dose of heartache.

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Nick" for more than a year. We have both been married before -- Nick's a widower, and I am divorced. He says he cares for me, but doesn't feel passionate about me, nor does "love" describe how he feels about me.

We are intimate, are great friends and spend almost every day together. He treats me great, dates no one else and I can be myself around him. But am I cheating myself by accepting the status quo? Our intimate times aren't satisfying because of the lack of emotional ties, but I'm torn because I enjoy his company. I am confused. Any words of wisdom, Abby? -- NOT QUITE FULFILLED

DEAR NOT QUITE FULFILLED: You and Nick are friends with benefits. Because you have no future with him beyond what you have now, and because intimacy with him is not satisfying because of his inability (or refusal) to emotionally commit -- I'd have to say he's reaping more of the benefits. The status quo is a substitute for what you really want, and yes, you are cheating yourself.

DEAR ABBY: I have been going through photo albums recently. Oh, the joy of seeing all those familiar faces again! However, when I turned the pictures over to verify people's last names and the dates they were taken, I was disappointed to find them blank.

The vacations depicted in the photos were wonderful, and I'm sure I thought we'd never forget the year. But the years go by.... So this is a reminder to take the time to label the back of photos with pertinent information. Believe me, it will be appreciated in later years. -- SHUTTERBUG IN CANON CITY, COLO.

DEAR SHUTTERBUG: The situation you describe is one that countless people have experienced -- and something folks often don't think about until it is too late. Thank you for the timely suggestion. It's one that I hope readers will make the time to follow.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)