DEAR ABBY: I am 59 and have a steady, good-paying job. I was married for 20 years, but divorced 11 years ago. I am set in my ways.
I have been seeing a woman, "Melinda," for eight years now. She's 51 and also has a steady job. We live 30 miles apart. Our relationship has been somewhat rocky, but we have also had some really great times.
Melinda has said for years that she wants to get married. It makes me nervous. My hands sweat and I think of every excuse not to when she brings it up. I'm in love with her, but when she brings up marriage, I run and hide.
She feels our relationship should end so she'll be free to meet someone else and marry. She deserves that right, and I understand it. I struggle, though, when I don't hear from her, speak to her or I imagine her with someone else. It drives me nuts, and I end up contacting her. We start talking and things seem fine for a while, until the M-word is mentioned.
I suggested we move in together and see how it works, but it never happened. Abby, what is my problem? Why can't I get married? -- TORN & STRUGGLING IN ARIZONA
DEAR TORN & STRUGGLING: Your problem may be that your first marriage -- and probably your divorce -- left you marriage-averse. Because you're in love with Melinda and can't manage without her, let me suggest that you discuss this with a licensed mental health professional and see if you can get beyond your fears. Joint counseling with Melinda would also be helpful for both of you, to ensure there are fewer rocky patches in your relationship in the future.