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by Abigail Van Buren

Attraction to Other Women Stops Man Short of Altar

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating a wonderful woman I'll call "Shannon" for a year and a half. She has most things that I want in a partner, and I often feel she's better than I deserve. We're in our early 30s, and Shannon is saying she will soon need some kind of idea where we are going in the future.

I'm having trouble with the notion of committing to her forever because I'm still attracted to other women. (I haven't been involved with anyone else since starting to date her.) More worrisome, I'm afraid I'll meet someone I'm more attracted to a few years down the road.

How can I be sure that Shannon will make me happier than anyone else I might meet in the future? -- CONFLICTED IN WASHINGTON STATE

DEAR CONFLICTED: You say Shannon has "most" things you want in a partner. Yet I sense that you're not as physically attracted to her as you think you should be. If this woman does not appeal to you, then face it -- she's not for you.

Of course, regardless of how attractive one's partner is, there are no guarantees that anyone -- male or female -- won't meet someone who is different and appealing at some point in the future. But those who are mature and committed usually realize they have enough invested emotionally in their marriage and children that they can resist temptation. It's called being an adult.