I have been married for 13 years. During that time, my husband, "Newton," has had several affairs, but I forgave him and we managed to patch things up.
Around 1995, I noticed a change in Newton's sexual behavior. Porno magazines began arriving and charges showed up on our credit card for sexual sites on the Internet. I thought about leaving, but by then we had two daughters.
I recently went to visit my parents in another state for a weekend. It was the first time since our marriage that I went alone. While I was gone, Newton bought some kind of sexual-enhancer vitamins for women. We've always had an active sex life, and I didn't think I needed enhancers.
One morning I drove our girls to school, and when I returned home to do the breakfast dishes, I found "stuff" floating in the coffee pot. I confronted Newton. At first he denied it, but eventually he admitted that he had crushed two of the vitamins and put them in the coffee -- after conveniently getting himself a cup first.
I have lost 17 pounds since then without trying. My doctor can find nothing wrong with me. I now wonder what Newton will do next, but honestly, nothing would surprise me anymore. My world revolved around him. I love him, but I know I am no longer IN love with him.
Abby, I came from a broken home. I never wanted that for my children. Newton knows this, and I think he uses it to his advantage. I am only here because of our children and because I'm not sure I have the confidence to start over.
Tired of Playing the Fool in Colorado
For the sake of your health and sanity, it's time to separate and get some counseling. The coffee in your house isn't the only thing that's toxic. The alternative to finding the confidence to start over appears to be hiring a food taster.
It's a toss-up whether your husband is so hooked on pornography that he is out of touch with reality -- and therefore expects you to perform with the abandon of a porn star -- or whether he is totally without empathy for others. Either way, you and the girls will be safer away from him.
Two years ago I met a man named "Ryan." Six months into our relationship, I found out I was pregnant with my son. One of my friends finally confided to me that Ryan was living a double life -- he had been married for the last 10 years and has six children.
When Ryan went to jail on a drug charge, I told his wife about the affair and that we had a son. For some reason, she still wants to be with him. Ryan wrote me and said he still wants us to sleep together when he gets out.
Please tell me how I can get out of this.
Ryan's "Hope" in Georgia
Try this. Don't answer his letters, and if he calls, tell him any further communication should be through your lawyer, because the romance is over, but the child support is just beginning.
My ex-husband, the father of my children, is very ill. I'd like some advice regarding proper etiquette should something happen to him. I'd like to attend his funeral, and he has never remarried -- so what is my role in all of this?
Needs to Know in Florida
Your "role" should be to support your children and offer condolences to his family if he has any. Since you are divorced, you are no longer a part of the family, nor are you considered to be his widow. Dress inconspicuously and take your cues from the grieving family.
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