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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have read your column every day for years. Your recent reply to "Waiting for Frank" was right on line, but you omitted one important thing -- how lying and sneaking around is, in itself, detrimental to a person. Frank had promised to make up for all their lying and sneaking around. This kind of behavior changes one, and becomes a part of a person that can never be "made up for."

Thank goodness I had sense enough to know this years ago, when I was a married woman with children and fell in love with a married man who also had children. I knew that lying and sneaking around would change us as people, and realized the damage we could cause our families. Although we were deeply in love, we chose to let our heads rule over our hearts -- and we did not have an affair.

I do not mean to preach. Although we chose not to have an affair, I now have more compassion for people who are not strong enough to resist the temptation. I realize that in a weak moment, it could have happened to us.

It is certainly better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. The love we shared has enriched and sustained my life in many ways, but I am grateful that we did not succumb to the temptation to have an affair. -- HEAD OVER HEART

DEAR HEAD OVER HEART: If more people behaved as you did, I would be out of business. You are very wise. It's better to have used your head than to have bruised your heart and shattered your marriage.

DEAR ABBY: I saw a letter in your column from "Plumber's Wife." She said that every faucet in her house dripped. Well, my mechanic husband and I own five cars. Two won't start at all, and one barely runs. I have sent the car that runs to the repair shop many times, which didn't faze my husband. It meant less work for him.

My father is a carpenter, and my parents' home was always the last to be repaired.

My former husband managed a grocery store and rarely would he shop for me.

I am a child-care provider, but after hours I prefer to be away from small children.

Abby, do you enjoy giving advice after office hours? I think it's only human nature to occupy your precious spare time with something other than your 40-hour-a-week occupation. -- MECHANIC'S WIFE

DEAR MECHANIC'S WIFE: I have no objections to giving advice after office hours. But perhaps that's because I love what I do and consider it a privilege -- not a job.

DEAR ABBY: Our friend "Mary" and her late husband raised six successful adult children, all professionals and most have multiple degrees.

We are upset by the way they treat their aged and disabled mother. They mock her disabilities and diminished hearing in front of her friends -- even strangers. We are embarrassed and angered, but do we have the right to say anything to her brood? Or should we continue to keep quiet? -- SACRAMENTO SAM AND VALLEY TOM

DEAR SAM AND TOM: You not only have the right, but an obligation to say plenty concerning the shabby treatment to which this aged and disabled woman is being subjected. Silence in this case is unforgivable!

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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