DEAR ABBY: I'm a 41-year-old divorced mother of two and grandmother of two. I own my own business, God blessed me with my first home two years ago, and I'm happier than I have been in years.
I'm writing because I have been seeing a man for about six months whom I met at church. We have attended the same church for about two years. "Gavin" has never been married, has no children and doesn't want any.
We have a great time together. We act like teenagers in love. I know he's not seeing anyone else because we spend too much time together. Gavin calls me four to five times a day, brings me lunch at work and takes me out to eat all the time. He constantly buys me presents and helps my daughter out with money when things get tight. He has even helped me financially a few times and refuses to let me pay him back. I am falling in love with him.
My problem? Every time I try to let Gavin know how I feel, he tells me not to let that happen. It's not what he wants, and he wants me to stop. (Yeah, right! Like I can turn my feelings on and off.) Anyway, he says we are not a couple, and I am free to do whatever I want to do.
Am I asking too much to want us to take this relationship to a new level? He shows all the signs of being in love with me by the way he treats me. His mixed signals are confusing. Am I really that naive? -- UNSURE IN GREENSBORO, N.C.
DEAR UNSURE: You are not naive. Hope springs eternal in the breast, and you are only human.
When a man tells you he wants you to be free and to do whatever you want to do, what he really means is he wants to be free to do whatever he wants to do. As much as Gavin cares for you, it's not enough for him to make a lifetime commitment. So, if being married is your goal, recognize that this honest, but reluctant Prince Charming is not for you.
DEAR ABBY: My 24-year-old daughter, "Lisa," informed me a year ago that she was engaged. She's a college graduate living in another state and still looking for a job. Her fiance is a young Marine who plans to make it a career.
Lisa was visiting this weekend and gave us the wedding date, which is in three months. She already has her invitations and bridesmaids picked out, etc.
As she was leaving, she broke down and said she had "something to tell me." They were married six months ago. She still wants to continue with her "wedding" plans, and have me walk her down the aisle.
My wife and I are extremely hurt and angry for having been lied to all this time. My question is, should I go along with this charade? Any other wisdom to impart? -- LISA'S DISAPPOINTED DAD
DEAR DAD: At least your daughter told you in advance. I have heard from parents who didn't learn the truth until months or years after the "wedding." Feeling as you do, calmly convey your thoughts to your daughter as you have done so clearly in your letter.
As to any "other wisdom" I would offer: As a low-ranking member of the military, Lisa's husband isn't going to make a lot of money until he climbs the promotional ladder. Their money would be better invested in other ways than the wedding of her dreams. They can reaffirm their vows later, in a way that is open, honest and less expensive.
TO MY JEWISH READERS: At sundown, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts. This is the beginning of our time of solemn introspection. "Leshana tova tikatevu" -- may each of us be inscribed in the Book of Life and enjoy a good year.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.