DEAR ABBY: How do you say, "No, thank you" to a pest without hurting her feelings? A woman I'll call "Ethel" constantly invites me to have lunch with her. By "constantly," I mean she has asked me at least 50 times.

I have explained to Ethel that my schedule is full and that I can't commit to any additional outings at this time. I do not want to have lunch with her because she hogs the conversation and it's not pleasant being with her.

My husband suggests that I just tell Ethel bluntly that I do not care to be with her. Please tell me how to get the message across without being rude.

"" STUCK IN THE "SHOW ME" STATE

DEAR STUCK: Most people who understand social cues would have stopped asking after three invitations had been refused. Because you cannot bring yourself to follow your husband's suggestion, try this: "Ethel, you have asked me so many times that you are making me feel uncomfortable. Please understand that I do not have time to go to lunch with you, and please don't ask me anymore."

DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend and I have been living together for two years and are starting to talk about marriage. She is kind and considerate, and we love each other. The only problem is, I have a college degree and she has only a high school diploma. I always imagined that I'd marry a college-educated person, but she has no desire to attend college or to get any other type of schooling, either.

I'm worried, Abby, because I'm afraid that we won't have a secure financial future because of her limited education. I want to provide a good life for our future children. Should I ignore my concerns? Or should I depart from this relationship?

"" LOOKING TWICE IN IDAHO

DEAR LOOKING TWICE: Your concerns should certainly not be ignored. However, your last question is one only you can answer.

And since we're on the subject of "questions," I have a few more for you: Although a college degree is not the end-all and be-all in determining success, is this young woman at all ambitious? Is she willing to expand her career options, or does she plan to be a housewife and stay-at-home mother?

You and your girlfriend could benefit from premarital counseling. After that, you will both have a clearer picture of what your future together will hold.

DEAR ABBY: I am 28 and have a wonderful 3-year-old daughter. When I was 12, my older cousin, who was 16 at the time, fondled me, thinking I was asleep. I said nothing about it and neither did he.

That was 16 years ago. A couple of weeks ago we had sex, and now I am pregnant. Should I lie to my family about who the father is?

"" WORRIED IN LOUISIANA

DEAR WORRIED: You should not keep it a secret from your family. Because your cousin is the father of the baby, he will have a financial obligation to support it. Your obstetrician will need the information to determine whether your baby has a risk for a genetic disorder.

You didn't mention whether you plan to continue this affair or marry your cousin. If the answer is yes, then I urge you to make absolutely sure that he does not do to your daughter or the baby what he did to you when you were so young, because his behavior was predatory.

Dear Abby is written by , 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.