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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: After 13 years of being with an abusive man, I finally figured out what a jerk he really is. I am leaving him very soon, although it is easier said than done. I have my "Dear John" letter ready. I sat down one day and wrote down all of the things he has put me through, and titled it "Love Isn't ..."

Perhaps if other women read it, they will know they aren't alone and everything isn't their fault, which I was led to believe so many times.

Guys: If you see yourself in this, be prepared to see your wife and kids walk out someday. It's just a matter of time.


-- Raising your hand with intent to scare or harm your wife.

-- Making yourself absent when your wife is sick.

-- Coming home half-drunk.

-- Standing her up on an important occasion, like the celebration dinner at the hospital for the birth of your child.

-- Screaming, "You're fine" when your wife feels sick or scared.

-- Calling her a liar when she's never lied to you.

-- Being nice only when you want something -- like sex.

-- Calling her stupid, ignorant or a bitch.

-- Saying, "You think you're always right," after asking her opinion.

-- Thinking always of what will make you happy, not your wife or your child.

-- Criticizing your wife in front of other people, or even worse -- your children.

-- Saying you're going to inflict physical harm because you don't like what she's saying.

-- Ordering her to "Stop crying," or insisting, "That didn't hurt; you exaggerate everything."

-- Saying, "If you don't like it, LEAVE!"

-- Shoving, hitting, or even pretending to do so.

-- Making her life miserable when you're at home. And that's why I ain't here! -- THE GOODBYE WIFE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR GOODBYE WIFE: Your description of your marriage is chilling. I have said this before, but it bears repeating: Life is filled with choices. Sometimes it's necessary to ask yourself, "Am I better off with him -- or without him?" I wish you better luck in your next relationship. Fortunately, not all men are like the one you married.

DEAR ABBY: I am 74 years old and have attended many funerals and memorial services in my lifetime, and I have decided that I do not want one.

When I tell my children this, they just smile and say, "Of course we will have a service for you."

Sometimes the music and sermon are comforting, but for the most part funerals are dreary affairs. Most people attend out of respect for the family. The deceased certainly doesn't know who is there.

Since I feel so strongly about having no service of any kind, don't you think my family should abide by my wishes? -- ANONYMOUS IN OREGON

DEAR ANONYMOUS: Yes, but let's face the facts. Funerals are for the living, and the "star of the show" has no voice in the matter. As Lord Beaverbrook once said, "The only reason I might go to a funeral is to make absolutely sure that person is dead!"

If you are adamant about not wanting a funeral, suggest to your children that instead you would prefer a "celebration of life." These services are increasingly popular, and are usually more cheerful than traditional funerals.

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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