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Dear Abby: Can’t handle suggestion of marriage

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 thinks that 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 or speak with her or when 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 that we move in together, but it never happened. What’s problem? Why can’t I get married?

– Torn & Struggling

Dear Torn & Struggling: Your problem may be that your first marriage – and probably your divorce – left you marriage-averse. 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 help the two you guard against a rocky future.

Grandma’s spirit lives on

Dear Abby: I have a special “Pennies From Heaven” story to share with you.

My dear grandmother recently lost her long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. My husband, my sister and I decided to have dinner at her house and go through photos for her funeral.

After dinner, my sister asked if we had any chocolate. My husband said, “What about the chocolate in the refrigerator?” I hadn’t seen any, but when I went to look, there was a packet of chocolate bars wedged in between the drawers. The expiration date on the wrapper was two years ago, when Grandma last lived in the house.

Abby, the refrigerator had been cleaned out multiple times, but somehow we missed the chocolate until today when we needed a sign from my grandmother that she was near.

Grandma was a Dear Abby fan. We found many of your clippings among her photos. I know she would love it if you shared this story with your readers.

– Jean’s Granddaughter

Dear Jean’s Granddaughter: I’m glad to do it. And speaking as another chocoholic, that you found Grandma’s stash in your time of need warmed my heart. I hope it lifted your spirits during what had to be an emotional time. Please accept my condolences for the loss of your dear grandmother.