Dear Abby: I have been engaged to a wonderful man for more than two years and cannot seem to set a wedding date. He loves me and my 9-year-old daughter. He does all of the laundry, the dishes and the cleaning, and he accepts my daughter as his own. He works two jobs so we don't go without anything.

Sounds perfect, right?The problem is, I don't think I love him. I say that I do, but I don't feel it in my heart. He is all a woman could ask for in a husband, but is that enough to replace love? Or have I read too many romance novels?

He wants to get married as soon as possible. I am 29, have never been married, and I feel my daughter needs a father. I am also afraid I won't find a man who will ever love me as much as he does.

Can I find a man whom I love, who accepts my daughter as his own - or should I marry a man I don't love but who would be a wonderful husband and father?

- For Better or Worse

Dear For Better: If you marry this man, knowing in your heart that you do not love him, you will be doing yourself and him a great disservice. Marriage is supposed to last forever. And forever is a long time to live with yourself, feeling that you sold out because you were afraid you wouldn't find a man you can love. Let him go.

Dear Abby: When I read the letter from "Hurting in Whittier," I had to write. Your response was excellent, but I would like to tell "Hurting" about my mother.

Mother became a widow at 63. She, too, had deep wrinkles on her face, but no one noticed because she always had a smile and was interested in other people.

Mother's life was not without men. After Dad died, she joined a singles group for older people. There, at age 68, she met a wonderful man. He became my stepfather. When he passed away some years later, she grieved for him for a while, but then decided she wasn't going to stay at home and mope, so she rejoined the singles group and met another nice man with whom she kept company for many years. Then he died. Mom used to joke that it was dangerous to date her because she outlived all the men she had gone with.

Shortly before her death at age 79, she had begun dating yet another man from the singles group.

Abby, the reason for her popularity was not her looks. It was her warm and caring personality. She always made everyone feel she was glad to see them. That was her "secret." All her grandchildren (she had 11) adored her and visited her often. My 20-year-old son took her to Disneyland when she was in her 70s. Like all the grandchildren, he loved being with her.

"Hurting in Whittier" should forget about how she looks and focus on making other people comfortable. She should be glad to see them, offer them a ride, join a club, volunteer for a cause that interests her. She should get out and enjoy life. She may be surprised at the changes that will occur when she changes her point of view.

- Still Missing Mom

Dear Still Missing Mom: Your mother exemplified the adage, "It's what's inside that counts." How special she must have been.

I've always believed that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who say, "There you are!" and those who say, "Here I am!" Your mother was definitely one of the "there you are" people. That's the kind everyone is delighted to see.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

Universal Press Syndicate

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All of the Dear Abby columns for the past several years are available online. Search for "DEAR ABBY" in the Lifestyle section and the Deseret News archives.