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by Abigail Van Buren

Caring for Ailing Parents Keeps Distance in Relationship

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating a wonderful, low-key, easygoing man for two years. "Stan" is crazy about me. To him, I'm a princess, and he treats me like gold. The downside is he lives an hour and 20 minutes away because he got laid off and had to move back home. We used to live near each other, which was great. He is now taking care of his parents, who are 81 and 84.

The long-distance relationship is making me very stressed because I see him only twice a month on weekends. Because his mom is so sick, I'm starting to see him even less often. He plans to stay with them to the end and promises we will be together one day. I rarely go to his parents' house because his mom can no longer enjoy company.

Abby, is this all worth it? He keeps telling me he loves me and says he will propose down the road. I'm 58. Should I keep this sweet, loving, long-distance romance or move on, which would devastate him? -- MISSING HIM IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR MISSING HIM: Although you wrote that you miss Stan, I am struck by the fact that nowhere in your letter did you say you actually love him. Would ending the relationship also devastate you? Have you considered relocating to be closer to him? Many couples survive being separated for long periods of time, but if you can't sustain it, then perhaps you should move on, knowing that men like him are not easily replaced.

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