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MR. RIGHT TURNS OUT TO BE WRONG

Dear Abby: I have been divorced for 10 years. I raised my three children alone while working a 40-hour week. It hasn't been easy.

Now that my youngest is 15 and the older two are out on their own, I decided to go out with "Harold," a gentleman I have known for five years. He would come every day to visit me and chat with me at work, so I finally accepted one of his invitations to go out for coffee.

Our relationship proceeded from there. Harold accepted me, the kids, my relatives and friends. We get along beautifully. We never disagree or argue. It's like I have been swept off my feet by Prince Charming. I have never been so happy. We do things as a family and are always together - except every night he goes home at 11 p.m. to his house, which is one hour from mine.

So what's the problem? Harold never mentioned that he has been married for 27 years and has a large family with many grandchildren. I got a phone call from a lady named "Ellen" who told me that Harold is her husband. She said she loves him, and begged me to end the relationship and tell him to go home to his family.

When Harold showed up for supper last night I told him about the phone call. He didn't deny any of it. He asked me if he had said he was married, would I have had coffee with him? Would he be in my life now? He says their marriage has been over since 2000, but because they are wealthy, a divorce would be very expensive, so it's better they live together and go their separate ways. He swears that he loves only me and my family, and he wants our relationship to continue!

Abby, I'm 45 years old and scared. I can't believe this has happened to me. I'm sick, brokenhearted and confused. Please tell me what to do.

-- Miserable in Massachusetts
Dear Miserable: Harold may have financial wealth, but it appears he's morally bankrupt. He may "love you," but he loves two things more - the status quo and his money. As much as you may care for him, please understand that you wouldn't be sick, brokenhearted and confused if he hadn't put you in this situation. Forty-five years old is the prime of life. Please don't be afraid. Tell this self- centered jerk the romance is over and send him back to his wife. The longer you allow this relationship to continue, the harder it'll be to make a new start - and frankly, you deserve better.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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