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Dear Ann Landers: I need your answer as soon as possible. When my children were in their late teens, my husband took me to a statue of St. Mary (we are Catholic) and made me swear, as he did, that if anything happened to us, either by death or divorce, neither one of us would get married again. Several years later, we were divorced. That was 10 years ago. I'm in my early 60s, and have kept my word. Three years after our divorce, my ex-husband remarried.

I am living with one of my sons and his wife. She is like a daughter to me, and I am comfortable here. I take care of my two grandchildren and do some housekeeping for them while they work. One of my daughter's friends has been trying to get me to go out with a gentleman who is also in his 60s. Since I took an oath that I would never marry again, what should I do? Should I do like my ex did, or keep my word to God?

Please let me know as soon as possible. I'm not getting any younger.

-- Need Some Guidance in Queens
Dear Queens: You haven't met the man yet, and you are asking me what to do about your oath that you would never remarry? Slow down, please, and take things one day at a time.

By all means, meet the gentleman and see where the relationship goes. Also, it would be OK to date other gentlemen if you get the opportunity.

If, down the road, you should wish to remarry, talk to your parish priest and ask for his guidance. Remarrying in the church may not be possible, but there are some satisfactory alternatives.

Build a relationship

Dear Ann Landers: My brother "Rick" and I are not very close, but we have always made a sincere effort to stay in contact with each other. About a year ago, Rick married a girl he met on the Internet. I have no problem with that and am happy he found love, but since he married, I have barely spoken to him.

Whenever I call, his wife answers the phone and wants to have a conversation. I don't mind that, but when I ask to speak with Rick, she says, "Tell me what you want to say and I will pass the message along." She checks his e-mail and responds on his behalf. She picks up my messages to Rick on their answering machine and calls me back. The only cell-phone number I have is hers.

I don't dislike my sister-in-law and have no problem talking to her, but occasionally, I would like to speak directly to my brother. In the past year, I have spoken to him exactly once. My husband sees Rick at his job, but otherwise, we have no contact at all. If Rick has no problem with this arrangement, should I leave it alone? Or should I keep trying?

-- California Cookie
Dear Cookie: Can you call Rick at work? I recommend it. Meanwhile, invite Rick and his wife to dinner. Try to build a social relationship -- as a couple. Enlist your husband's help. Remember, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Shame on you

Dear Ann Landers: It was heartwarming to read in your column about the couple who put a dollar in the tin box every time they made love. They were saving for their dream trip to Hawaii.

I, too, put money aside every time on the same occasion. My only regret is that I did not give my wife all my business. What a fabulous trip we could have gone on.

-- Delray Beach, Fla.
Dear Del: I hope you are joking, but if you are serious, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

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