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by Abigail Van Buren

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.

DEAR ABBY: At least once a week my boss and I drive together from our office to meetings throughout town. She always insists on driving. My problem is, she drives erratically and I often feel in danger with her behind the wheel. Not only does she swerve in and out of lanes without signaling, she is often talking on her cell phone (which is not illegal in our state).

I'd be happy to drive. I have a comfortable, reliable car and a safe driving history. I have offered, "I'd be glad to drive so you'll be free to give your full attention to important phone calls." None of my efforts has worked.

I don't want to be rude or insulting -- and certainly don't want to create an awkward situation with my boss -- but I don't want to keep putting myself at risk with her terrible driving. I'd be grateful for some advice. -- RIDING SHOTGUN IN MIAMI

DEAR RIDING SHOTGUN: It's time for another -- more direct -- chat with your boss. You should not have to worry every time you get into a car with her that you might not arrive in one piece. Tell her: "When you talk on the phone while you drive, it makes me very nervous. I'm concerned about my safety as well as the safety of others when you do it. If you don't want me to drive so you can make your calls, I will meet you at our destination."

DEAR ABBY: After her second mammogram in 10 years, my mother-in-law now needs a double mastectomy. An annual mammogram would have caught it early enough to prevent its spread.

Since I have trouble remembering when it has been a year since my last exam, I decided to schedule my annual exam on my birthday. Now I will always remember when it's time for my annual gift to myself -- preventive health care. -- ANNUAL ALISON IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR ANNUAL ALISON: That's an excellent suggestion. Associating annual medical exams with a holiday -- like Valentine's Day -- would be another.

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