Dear Ann:

My ex-husband and I divorced 18 years ago. He told me he no longer loved me and that family life was not for him. He agreed to counseling, but, of course, it was a waste of time. The counselor later told me it was obvious that I wanted counseling to save the marriage, but my ex agreed to it only to appease me, and intended on getting a divorce once the charade was over.

We had been married 14 years and had two children, ages 7 and 5. It was not easy for me. My ex remarried six months after the divorce was final. I married again 10 years later. My 23-year-old daughter recently asked her father why we were divorced. He replied, "Because your mother was having an affair."

I am furious with him for telling such a lie. Fortunately, my daughter did not believe him, but it's possible he has repeated that same lie to everyone he knows. I get angry every time I think about it, but don't know if I should confront him. Please, Ann, tell me what to do.

Innocent in Stamford, Conn.

Don't waste your time and energy on a confrontation. It has been said that a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can put on its shoes. You now know that your ex is a cad and a liar. What more is there to learn? A confrontation would probably result in a denial, plus more "he said . . . she said . . . " Who needs it? Congratulate yourself for unloading the bum, and enjoy your freedom.

Dear Ann:

I hope you will find space for one more response to the letter from "A Square from Oneonta, N.Y." She is the woman who complained about what a burden it is to be seated next to a fat person on a plane.

I happen to be one of those "human whales" she described in her letter. Every time I leave the house, I can expect to be punished for being fat. I certainly did not wake up one morning with the intention of being morbidly obese. The truth is that most fat people are not gluttons. Many of us eat far less than our friends who are normal size.

I was put on my first diet when I was 8 years old. Since then, I have tried several traditional weight-loss programs, such as Overeaters Anonymous and Weight Watchers, along with diet pills, to speed up my metabolism. I also tried many off-the-wall diets, such as the rice diet, the cabbage soup diet, the grapefruit diet. Just name it, and I've tried it. With each attempt and subsequent failure came another blow to my self-esteem, followed by depression.

I decided to get therapy to help me get my head on straight. I now like who I am the way I am. I know my true worth and no longer agonize about my size. There is nothing wrong with what's inside. The problem is the packaging.

When I fly, the armrest stays down so I don't encroach on someone else's space. I say, "No, thank you," to meal service because it is a struggle to put the table tray down. I try to book flights that are open and have empty seats. Most flight attendants are wonderful when I tell them about my concerns of inconveniencing other passengers, and they reassign my seat whenever possible.

If "Square" could walk in my shoes for a while and experience the animosity and discrimination, not to mention the physical discomfort we endure, she would know what hell it is to be fat. D.H. in Garland, Tex.

You have written a letter for which millions of readers will bless you. People who are overweight don't need any more bashing. They need understanding and compassion. You have provided both, and I thank you.

(C) 1999, Creators Syndicate Inc.

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