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by Abigail Van Buren

End of Affair Turns Woman's Secret Love Into Obsession

DEAR ABBY: I've been in a loveless marriage for 20 years. Six years ago, I fell in love with a wonderful (but married) man. We shared a passionate, fantastic and totally secret relationship until a year ago -- when his wife discovered our affair. Unfortunately, instead of kicking him out, she chose to forgive him.

He had led me to believe that our love was forever and he couldn't live without me. Now he tells me he realizes he still loves his wife, will not leave her, and our relationship is over.

I will not accept this. I must live my life with him. I am unable to give him up. I'll do anything to get him away from his wife, but I'm running out of ideas. Do you have any? -- DESPERATE IN DETROIT

DEAR DESPERATE: Yes. Get over it. You have confused love with obsession. If you continue pursuing this man, you are asking for a bigger dose of heartache than what you've already suffered.

Concentrate on the husband you have, and perhaps you'll have a marriage as successful as your former lover's.

DEAR ABBY: The mother of "Caged Up in Los Angeles," who won't allow her 19-year-old daughter out of the house after sundown, is making a tragic mistake.

She's teaching her daughter that she has no willpower, no conscience and no judgment. The mother fails to realize that if her daughter is so inclined, she can misbehave as easily at 2:30 in the afternoon as she might at 11 p.m.

That mother should be teaching her daughter the social skills. She should then permit her daughter to practice and refine them. If the mother fails to do this, she will be sending an unprepared, uninformed and inexperienced 25-year-old into society, thus doing a disservice to her daughter as well as those around her. -- N.P., SANTA MONICA, CALIF.

DEAR N.P.: I couldn't have said it better. I pray the young woman's mother recognizes herself, and eases up on her daughter.

DEAR ABBY: In commenting on your advice to "Sad Mom-to-Be," the woman signed "Been There, Done That" said her husband was also selfish, inconsiderate and inflexible, and her son is "now stuck with a name that means nothing to him."

I am always amazed that people who hate their names feel that they are stuck with them forever. "Been There" should look at her own "flexibility." My ex-husband and I have both changed our names, and so have at least five other relatives and several friends.

There are very few possessions, physical or acquired, that are not changeable nowadays, and my name was a lot easier to improve than my nose! -- GERTA FARBER, OAKLAND, CALIF.

DEAR GERTA: I salute your honesty -- and what an interesting and unusual name you chose. I'll wager that changing your name was a lot less expensive than your nose job.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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