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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband started exercising, is now on a strict diet and listening to love songs from the '60s. He has never been interested in these things before.

I overheard him on the phone talking about going to his high school reunion this summer, 400 miles away. When I asked him why he hadn't mentioned it to me, he said it's because I'm not invited. I was shocked. Then he said he's going with three of his old "buddies." I asked if their wives were going and he said, "No, they're divorced, but have girlfriends."

My husband is now giving me the silent treatment. He has a history of keeping things from me, but never anything like this. This is his 50th reunion, and the first one he has ever wanted to go to. I'm sick about it. What do you make of all this? -- HEARTSICK IN OREGON

DEAR HEARTSICK: I make of it that you don't trust your husband because he tries to sneak things past you and wasn't upfront about this from the beginning. If he had said he was planning to attend, and that he and three of his old buddies wanted to pretend they were teenagers again, you might have felt differently. Because he didn't, I can see why you would find the situation threatening.

Since you seem to have trouble communicating your feelings to each other, some sessions with a marriage counselor might help you reach a better understanding.

P.S. While he's gone, arrange to do something fun with some of your women friends. A girls' weekend might be a pleasant diversion, and at this point you need one.

DEAR ABBY: I left my wife for a much younger woman two years ago. Despite what my ex-wife says, it was not a mid-life crisis. I was very unhappy with my wife and our marriage. Our divorce has been final for seven months -- although I'm beginning to wonder if it will ever truly be "final."

My girlfriend, "Nicole," is anxious for us to be married and start building a life together. I'm still overwhelmed from how unbelievably painful the whole divorce process has been, and I can't begin to think about getting married again at the moment.

I have told Nicole that I'm not ready and I need some time. She says I'm "stringing her along," and even though she doesn't want to have kids, she still feels her clock is ticking for finding an acceptable mate. It has reached the point where Nicole says she is going to leave me if I don't commit to marrying her.

What is a reasonable time to expect someone to recover and be emotionally ready to remarry after an extremely bitter divorce? And what do you suggest? -- STILL HEALING IN WASHINGTON

DEAR STILL HEALING: Some people are ready to remarry within months of a divorce. For others, the healing process can take years. I suggest you call Nicole's bluff. She is anxious because she is beginning to doubt that she'll get you to the altar -- and the "biological clock" business she's handing you is ridiculous in light of the fact that she doesn't want children.

The feelings you are experiencing are normal after a bitter divorce. Please do not allow yourself to be stampeded. When the time is right for you to remarry, you will know it without my telling you.

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