DEAR ABBY: I am 49 and have been dating a 26-year-old woman for about five months. We have a great time together and have talked about love and being in a long-term relationship. However, I am afraid that I am setting her up for an unhappy and disappointing midlife as I may require adult care about the same time her parents do.

She becomes upset when I try to bring the subject up and asserts that she’s willing to accept the responsibilities associated with my golden years because she loves me. I’m not sure how much of her response is rooted in her love for me and how much may be the result of a lack of life experience. If I stay with her, am I being selfish? – OLD ENOUGH TO BE HER DAD IN MICHIGAN

Not having met you, I can’t be sure. How are the genetics in your family? Did your parents live to a ripe old age without falling apart? How would you feel to be raising teenagers when you’re in your 60s? Do you think you can keep up with them – and her?

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to love. I have heard of many devoted May-September marriages. But regardless of age, both parties should go into it with their eyes wide open – and that includes the two of you.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 20-year-old woman who has always wanted to live near the ocean. I recently had the good fortune to visit Australia and loved it so much I started looking for work while I was there. I have been feeling depressed since returning home knowing I have found someplace I would love to spend the rest of my life.

My problem is I am engaged, and my future husband doesn’t share my enthusiasm for the ocean. We live in Colorado, and he loves the mountains. He never traveled as a boy and has no idea how addicting it can be.

I love him, and he fulfills all I could hope for in a husband. But I don’t know if he can share the same love for a place that I can’t get out of my mind. Is this relationship doomed? – WANDERLUST IN LITTLETON

Only you can answer that. You are 20 and define yourself as someone who has wanderlust. Before you commit to marriage to someone who may not share your spirit of adventure, you owe it to yourself and to him to see more of the world and get it out of your system. Remember the movie “The Wizard of Oz”? It took seeing the Emerald City to truly appreciate Kansas.

DEAR ABBY: I have a co-worker I’ll call “Linda” who is constantly on the phone making personal calls. She is chronically late to work and never gets her work caught up. My problem is she just told me she has listed me as a reference on dozens of job applications!

I take pride in being honest, so how do I come up with positive things to say about her if any potential employers call? – CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE, CHILLICOTHE, OHIO

Linda should have asked you for permission before listing you as a reference. Tell her she must stop doing it immediately.

Should anyone call you to ask about her, tell the person that you are her co-worker and the dates that you worked together, but nothing more. If they want more details, they should be referred to the office manager.

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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