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by Abigail Van Buren

Engagement to Town 'Bad Guy' Draws Warnings

DEAR ABBY: I just got engaged, and I couldn't be happier. But my fiance is referred to by the entire town as the "bad guy" because of his past. He's changed a lot, and I really want this to work out, but people come to me and say he's not marriage material, and they try to make us break up (one of his exes in particular).

He told me about his past, and I don't judge him for it because everyone has a past. He really wants to get married. How can we have a wedding without everyone knowing about it, especially our family? -- MARRIAGE-BOUND IN WEST VIRGINIA

DEAR MARRIAGE-BOUND: If the whole town -- including your family -- thinks that marrying your fiance is a bad idea, it may be time to hit the pause button. Marriage is something you want to do only once. The chances of it being successful will be better if you don't go rushing off to the altar.

Make your engagement long enough that your fiance has time to prove to your parents and the community that he is a changed man. No one can "make" you break up, but it would be in your interest to listen to those exes (including the one in particular) and compare what each has to say. If the stories they each tell are similar, it may be your Mr. Right is the wrong man for you.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce