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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: A few months ago, I found out my husband had a two-year affair with my teen-age sister. The affair began with my husband raping her, but she didn't disclose it and she didn't discourage him when he approached her again for sex.

At first he denied everything. He had always been basically a good husband and father, so I believed his denial. When I found out it really happened, I told him it was disgusting and could land him in jail. He apologized, saying it was a "mistake" and asked me to forgive him. I couldn't accept his apology and filed for legal separation.

He calls me daily asking for forgiveness and begging me to take him back. My friends, who don't know the whole sordid story, say I should forgive him and take him back. My family says it's the "Christian thing to do."

Abby, I don't miss him, don't like him and don't want him back. But I have no moral support except for our children, who don't want me to take him back. In spite of my feelings, I'm considering letting him come back to get him and everyone else off my back, and also because I'm afraid I will be alone the rest of my life.

I'm completely self-supporting financially, so that is not the issue.

If you were me, what would your decision be? -- UNDECIDED IN ILLINOIS

DEAR UNDECIDED: A two-year affair with a minor is far more than just a "mistake." Your husband may be guilty of statutory rape, and your sister may need counseling to cope with the trauma of having been molested.

Were I in your shoes, I not only would refuse to take him back, I would also see that my sister got counseling, and encourage her to report the rape and subsequent sexual abuse to the authorities.

DEAR ABBY: May I suggest a wonderful idea for showers for second or third babies?

Before my second child was born, my friends got together and gave me a shower of frozen home-cooked meals. I then prepared more frozen meals, and for a month after the baby came I didn't have to spend much time in the kitchen.

A new mother is so busy with the new baby and older children that this is welcome relief from a time-consuming chore. Also, we were able to sample the culinary skills of our friends -- which was a welcome change from my home cooking. -- NICOLE ANDREWS, SACRAMENTO

DEAR NICOLE: This isn't the first time I've heard about a practical shower of this kind, but the idea bears repeating. I can well imagine how these meals would be appreciated at such a busy time. Your friends merit stars in their crowns.

DEAR ABBY: I have read and enjoyed your column for years, and I have learned from it, too. I have quite a collection of your columns that I keep for referral to friends and family when needed.

Referring to your answer to "Miss X," the pre-surgical transsexual who asked about using the women's rest room, you may want to remind him (her) to lower the panties and sit, rather than stand.

My sister was in a rest room recently and was quite surprised when she looked down to see feet pointing toward the wall and heard "water running" in the next stall. She didn't know whether to stay in her stall or venture out to see who would be coming out from next door. Curiosity got the best of her and she observed the occupant leaving, walking very unsteadily on "her" high heels.

Just when these cross-dressers think they have thought of everything, they forget to point their feet in the right direction. -- JOYCE IN RICHMOND, VA.

DEAR JOYCE: I'm sure you will agree that some habits become so ingrained they are hard to break.

For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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