DEAR ABBY: I have been with a man for the last six years. He has been separated for 20 years. When I asked him if he was going to finalize his divorce, he said no. When I said I would like a commitment, he said he gave me one when he moved in five years ago. I said I want more. His wife even asked him for a divorce, but he said it's expensive. I told him by my upcoming 50th birthday I want a yes or no on the divorce. What should I do? -- IN LIMBO IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR IN LIMBO: Assuming this man lives with you rent-free, you have spent the last six years with a houseguest who is more concerned with his net worth than your need for validation. If his wife wanted a divorce, it would have happened already, and the issue of property division could have been bifurcated (separated). Obviously, this arrangement is serving them both in some way. Your next step should be to make a final decision about whether the status quo is acceptable to you, because it isn't going to change.
DEAR ABBY: Must an engagement ring be "new"? My mother died at the age of 60 and left her engagement ring to me. My father then married a younger woman. They had one daughter, who subsequently has had children of her own. I never married, and have reached an age where it's not likely I will, and I still have the ring. I could have the stone reset for myself, but I never cared much for jewelry, and I wouldn't feel right selling it.
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I'm considering giving it to the daughter (my half-sister) so one of her descendants could use it for its intended purpose. Would a potential fiancee consider it an insult to be receiving a "used" engagement ring, or be honored to be welcomed into the family with an heirloom? (We should consider that the original wearer is technically not a blood relation, so it's possibly not their "family" heirloom.) -- PASSING IT ON IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR PASSING IT: I can't speak for all young women, but many would recognize the honor of being offered a keepsake/heirloom such as your mother's ring. If they didn't like the style, they, too, could decide whether to have the stone reset into something more to their liking. I think your idea of offering it to your half-sister is generous and beautiful. YOU are a gem.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.