DEAR ABBY: I need some serious advice. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a year ago. My condition is stable. I have taken the necessary precautions such as dietary changes, exercise and prescription medications.

My husband and I have been married eight years. This is my second marriage and his third. My husband is a very stubborn man. Once he makes a decision he stands by it until death.

He has recently announced that should I become incapacitated and unable to perform my “wifely duties,” he is going to find a “sex buddy.” What should I do about this announcement? – WIFE IN DAYTON, OHIO

I can’t imagine an announcement that would cool a woman’s ardor faster than the one your husband made to you. You say that “once he makes a decision he stands by it until death.” Remind him that when you were married he promised to be faithful to you until death do you part. From my perspective, your husband appears to be a self-serving hypocrite, and you need to decide if that’s the kind of person you want to live with for the rest of your life.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, “Logan,” recently proposed. I gladly accepted. Logan is a little timid about announcing the fact that we are engaged. He’s afraid of what people will think because we have only been together for seven months.

What is the appropriate time frame for courting before becoming engaged? – NEW FIANCEE, SELIGMAN, ARIZ.

It depends upon the ages and the level of life experience of the individuals involved. Smart couples wait to become engaged until they have seen each other under a variety of circumstances – including some that are not pleasant. And after they do decide, they sign up for pre-marital counseling to make absolutely sure they agree on subjects like money management, how many children they want, and how they will be raised – the “little” things that can make or break a marriage. Because Logan seems uncomfortable about revealing your engagement, the two of you may have jumped the gun.

And now, Dear Readers, I will continue the tradition of offering the Thanksgiving Prayer that was written by my dear mother, Pauline Phillips. No Thanksgiving would be complete for me without it:

Oh, Heavenly Father,

We thank thee for food and

remember the hungry.

We thank thee for health and

remember the sick.

We thank thee for freedom and

remember the enslaved.

May these remembrances stir

us to service,

That thy gifts to us may be

used for others. Amen.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Love, ABBY

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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