Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Bride's Mother Does Her Best to Keep Stepmom Out of Sight

DEAR ABBY: I left my husband 2 1/2 years ago because he physically abused my son. I tried dating after that, and thought I had found a nice guy. Then I discovered that in spite of being on birth control, I was pregnant. He pulled the "it's not mine" routine, so I again became single -- this time with four children -- and remained that way for more than a year.

Five months ago I started seeing an amazing man. He loves my children and wants to marry me, but I find myself pulling away. Is it because I'm afraid that this man will become the Jekyll and Hyde type, too? -- GUN SHY IN CANADA

DEAR GUN SHY: Probably. Your fear is understandable, considering the luck you've had with the previous men in your life.

Before you distance yourself any further, consider asking a psychologist to help you come to grips with your fears. And while you're at it, couples counseling would also be helpful, so you can get to know this "amazing man" better before you make any more lifetime commitments. If he loves you as he claims to, he will cooperate. If he refuses -- keep looking.