I have been married to "Ron" for 11 years. Throughout our marriage he has been unfaithful. We have three children under age 12. I work a minimum-wage job and have no family, nowhere to go, and no one to turn to.
A few months ago, Ron brought home a sexually transmitted disease, which he gave to me. I feel trapped, alone and terribly depressed. I realize the children must be sensing my tension and pain. As Ron is not physically abusive, I cannot go to a shelter, and this has taken a toll on my health and well-being.
Should I stay until I'm financially able to leave? Or should I flee now and hope for the best?
Lonely and Sad in Louisiana
If you haven't already done so, contact your physician and be treated for the STD. Make a list of Ron's assets, as well as his Social Security, driver's license and bank account numbers. Next, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233. Although there may not be room for you at a shelter, they can help you formulate an "escape plan." Once that's in place, consult an attorney who specializes in family law. You've suffered enough. Dear Abby:
I recently became engaged to a man I thought was the salt of the earth. Then I moved in with him. Well, he's not the man I thought he was. I now know that almost everything he has told me is a lie.
He's 12 years older than he said. He never went to college like he claimed. He told me he was sterile, but I discovered he has four children. He pays child support for two of them who are very young, so he'll be obligated for a long time. His parents are both living -- not dead like he told me -- and he's not an only child; he has two brothers who live across the country.
My mind is spinning. We're supposed to be married in three months. I'm seriously thinking about breaking the engagement and moving out, but I still love him.
Should I stick it out and hope for the best, or listen to my gut?
Second Thoughts in Indiana
Listen to your gut. Leave now and cut your losses. Your fiance either has a lot to hide or he's a compulsive liar. Solid relationships are built on a foundation of trust, and your fiance has proven to you many times over that you can't believe a word he says.
My husband and I are having a disagreement about something and would like you to settle it. When I'm home alone, he sneaks into the house and tiptoes up behind me. He has even done it while I'm in the shower, suddenly appearing out of nowhere.
When I tell him this frightens me, he says I am overly nervous. I say it's not a matter of being nervous. I was raised to be courteous and announce my presence. I think my husband's behavior is selfish, rude, and shows a lack of manners.
Who is right?
Krista in Jacksonville
You are. His behavior is also childish and a touch sadistic.
P.S. Lock the bathroom door when you take a shower, and hang a string of little bells or chimes on the front and back doors of your house. That should solve the problem.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate