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by Abigail Van Buren

Timing Is an Issue for Couple Wanting to Start Their Family

DEAR ABBY: I am a 69-year-old divorcee who was married for 48 years. The last 25 years were very lonely. There were no intimate relations, hugs or kisses, and we slept in separate bedrooms. After I retired, I learned my husband had been cheating on me for God knows how long, possibly 20 years.

After our divorce, I was finally persuaded to do some online dating, which has been quite an adventure, both positive and negative! I am currently happy in an exclusive year-long relationship, but because I have been out of the dating world for almost half a century, I am confused by the new rules.

My boyfriend sometimes expects me to share the cost of what we do, whether it be restaurant, movies, golf, airline tickets, etc. My mother taught me that the gentleman always pays, so please give me current advice about present-day dating etiquette, if you would be so kind. -- CURRENT IN TEXAS

DEAR CURRENT: What your mother taught you was true in her day. However, because women are now in the working world, have incomes of their own, and are on a more equal par with men, they now share some or all of those expenses. Much depends upon the financial disparity between the two. This is an important subject you should discuss with your gentleman friend to see if you can agree on an arrangement that's comfortable for both of you.