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Think hard before acting on feelings

Dear Abby: I'm a 50-year-old female, married 26 years, with three grown children. When I was 16, I dated a guy, "Oliver," I cared for very much. We got along, never argued and were very close. The attachment we had I have never experienced since.

Months after we broke up, my mom told me that because we were of different races, she had called Oliver's parents and told them to keep him away from me because we were getting too close.

We both moved on, but through the years, I have thought of him often. Sixteen months ago, I found him online. He lives a half-hour away, has two teenagers and is unhappy in his marriage. We spoke on the phone or online for a year. Over the last few months we have been meeting at a nearby park. Our connection is still there. We are soul mates and no longer want to be without each other. And no, we have not had sex.

My husband has been good to me. I love him, but I'm not "in love" with him. I am torn between staying with my husband to honor the commitment to my family, or following my heart with Oliver. I'm in love with him and don't want to lose him a second time.

-- Another Chance in California

Dear Chance: You say you're torn between your commitment to your family or following your heart. But what about Oliver's commitment to his family? Although your children are grown, his aren't. They still need a father at home.

If the feelings you have carried in your heart all these years for Oliver are more than a fantasy, they won't wither if you postpone acting on your feelings. Are you strong enough to do that? Whether you're up to the challenge is something only the two of you can decide.

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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