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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: This is in response to your column, "Abused Wife Learns What Love Isn't." Similarly, after 15 years with an abusive woman, I told her I had to leave. She left me emotionally overwrought and filled with undirected anger. With the help of counseling, I also figured out what love isn't. Ladies: If you see yourself in this -- take warning:


-- Saying, "You don't know what you're talking about" when your husband says that he doesn't feel loved.

-- Constantly badgering your husband to get a better paying job, when he makes an ample salary ($90,000 a year) and enjoys his work.

-- Continuously referring to your husband as "old man," knowing he resents it, especially when he's athletic and youthful looking for his age (48).

-- Grabbing and throwing your husband's hand down when he reaches out to touch or hold you.

-- Belittling your husband before others, even in his presence.

-- Telling your husband that no other woman would want him.

-- Blatantly seeking expensive, tangible "trappings of influence" for status' sake, to the detriment of living within means.

-- Not knowing or taking interest in what your husband does at work, realizing his work means a lot to him.

-- Consciously not being home or at the airport to welcome your husband after a long trip.

-- Reading and annoyingly chewing ice in bed until husband falls asleep, and feigning sleep until after husband leaves for work.

-- Refusing to visit husband's relatives, while demanding frequent visits to your relatives. -- THE GOODBYE HUSBAND WHO FINALLY FOUND TRUE LOVE AND CONTENTMENT IN RESTON, VA.

DEAR GOODBYE HUSBAND: What a sad description of lonely coexistence -- I hesitate to call it a marriage. Fortunately, not all women are like the first one you married. Congratulations on having found true love and contentment the second time around.

DEAR ABBY: In response to the father who wrote regarding leaving his 4- and 2-year-olds home from the family cruise: I was that 4-year-old, 24 years ago. My patents took my brother and sister to Disneyland, and I stayed behind with both sets of grandparents.

I would like to tell that father to do as you suggested: Plan special times for the kids at home -- ice cream excursions, nature walks, kids' museums, children's theaters, craft hour or going out for dinner. Make it extra-special for them, so they can tell the older ones when they return.

Being the younger child has its advantages later on in life. I was lucky to have my mom and dad to myself once the other kids left for college. I became an "only child" for a few years, and I would not have traded that quality time for anything in the world.

I hope the parents do some creative planning and go on their trip and enjoy. -- ADJUSTED IN PORTLAND, ORE.

DEAR ADJUSTED: I'm printing your supportive letter for that father to see. There is nothing as reassuring as the voice of experience.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JEANNE, my beautiful, talented firstborn. You are loved.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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