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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband's Empty Promise Leaves Wife Full of Hurt

DEAR ABBY: "Mel" and I married two years ago. He was 67 and retired, a widower after 30-plus years of marriage, with two children and four grandchildren. I'm 54, stopped working when I married him, have three children and one grandchild. Mel and I now live in the same house he lived in with his wife.

Before the wedding I asked Mel if we were going to move. I made it clear that I didn't want to stay in his house. He promised we would move. Bottom line: It's been two years and now he says we're not moving. He's happy in this house, comfortable, etc. I once suggested that he let me change things around the house a little. His response: "What for? Everything is in its place. Besides, we're moving anyway."

What shall I do? He does not see things the way I do because he is not hurting emotionally. I have become very frustrated because even if we talk it out the whole day, he'll conveniently "forget" and not do anything about it. Abby, I'm not getting any younger and if I need to get a job, I should try to get one right now.

One other thing: He thinks money is everything. But I have proven to him that money is not everything to me by signing a prenuptial agreement wherein I get nothing. However, he always says he will provide for me when he's gone, that I will not go hungry, etc. How can I believe him when he cannot even make good on his word regarding moving? -- UNHAPPY IN ORANGE COUNTY, CALIF.

DEAR UNHAPPY: I am unable to determine from your letter if your husband is "forgetting" because he is selfish or whether it could be the beginning of senile dementia. But I urge you to protect yourself. By all means, find a job. You may need the income. Also, consult an attorney to find out how your husband will provide for you, should anything happen to him, in the aftermath of that prenuptial agreement you signed. I, too, wonder how you can believe his promise to take care of you, since he refuses to follow through about moving.

DEAR ABBY: I thought the letter from Ruth A. Davis of the U.S. State Department regarding consular officers at embassies abroad was both interesting and informative.

Several years ago, my husband and I were in Italy with another couple when our trunk was broken into. Everything was taken -- including my friend's purse containing her and her husband's passports.

Needless to say, it caused us untold problems. We had to change our travel plans to include a visit to the U.S. consulate in Milan. Fortunately, the hotel we had stayed at the prior evening had recorded our passport numbers so we were able to call and obtain the much-needed information. Only then could the embassy quickly issue new passports.

We learned a valuable lesson that you might like to pass on to your readers, Abby. Make a copy of your passport before you leave home and carry it with you while abroad, separate from your original passport. -- INFORMED TRAVELER, ATLANTA

DEAR INFORMED TRAVELER: Thank you for a helpful reminder. Another worthwhile safety measure: Record the numbers of your traveler's checks and keep them separate from the checks, in case of theft.

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