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by Abigail Van Buren

Divorce Separates Woman From Family and Friends

DEAR ABBY: Four months ago, I divorced my husband after I discovered he was having an affair. We had been married for many years. Since that time, my life has changed considerably, but there is one thing for which I was totally unprepared. I have been abandoned by my husband's family and our so-called friends.

I'm in a divorce-support group and have learned that abandonment is a common experience for divorced women. For some reason, this rarely happens to divorced men. Their social life flourishes.

Women in the process of divorce are often avoided for a variety of reasons: Friends may feel awkward because they don't know what to say; they may be embarrassed by the circumstances of the divorce, or may have known about the events which led to it and sided with the husband.

The point I want to make is this: If you know someone, especially a woman, who is going through a divorce, please don't avoid her. Even if you can't rush to her aid, a phone call, a note or a visit can make an enormous difference in her life. Sympathy can be conveyed without taking sides or becoming a party to mudslinging.

Please print my letter. If it helps even one person avoid some of the pain I have suffered, you will have performed a great service. -- RECENT DIVORCEE, NAUVOO, ALA.

DEAR DIVORCEE: With a large percentage of marriages ending in divorce in this country, men are also forced to make major social adjustments when a split occurs. Not all breakups are caused by infidelity.

Yours is a common problem; however, there are ways of turning the heartbreak from negative to positive. You now have the opportunity to make new friends and to begin building a new life for yourself. I wish you good luck and all the best.

DEAR ABBY: It wasn't my fault that I didn't get to serve on a jury panel. We were in the box waiting for the final question.

The lawyer asked me if there was any question he should have asked the other members of the panel or myself.

I said, "Yes, there is."

And he asked, "What's that?"

I replied, "You didn't ask if anyone could read lips."

His reply was rather curt, "And I suppose YOU can?"

My answer was equally brief: "Shall I repeat the conversation you just had with your client?"

His response was to say, "We respectfully ask that Juror No. 6 be excused." And excused I was. No one else knew what he had said to his client, and I wouldn't tell anyone because I was afraid I might cause a mistrial. Sign me ... WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD JUROR, CARSON, CALIF.

DEAR WOULD HAVE BEEN: Your integrity is commendable. I'll wager the lawyer includes that question in future jury selections.

DEAR ABBY: Those letters about cigarettes being thrown from moving vehicles gave me a good laugh recalling other objects thrown from moving cars -- such as a soda can that hit the helmet of a motorcycle cop. It was my head inside that helmet.

Although the incident was unintentional and the young man involved was very apologetic, the citation was easy for me to write.

Feel free to use my name. -- OFFICER J.A. CHESTER, PITTSBURG, KAN.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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