DEAR ABBY: My problem is very complex, and I hope you and your readers can help. "John" and I have been married for almost 20 years. It's the third marriage for both of us. We both have children from previous marriages; all of them have caused us major problems through the years, but that's another letter.
John is a womanizer and always has been -- here in town and when he travels for his job in the United States and foreign countries, which is often. While he has traveled, I have filled my time completing my higher education.
My problem: I am terrified of catching HIV or some other STD, and I want to know how I can convince John to use protection with me. I doubt that he uses protection in the field.
Divorce is out of the question. We are in our early 50s, and we're both executives in the same large corporation, have a beautiful home and a lot invested in the future.
My friends can offer no advice, and I'm at a loss for a way to approach this and still maintain my marriage. I know I can't be the only wife in this position, and need help badly. -- WORRIED IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR WORRIED: If your husband refuses to use a condom, you should know that a condom for women was invented a few years ago. Discuss this with your gynecologist or pharmacist. Since he has no qualms about putting your well-being in jeopardy, be direct with your husband and tell him, "No protection -- no sex."
DEAR ABBY: I have been reading your column since I was a teen-ager and have enjoyed it thoroughly. I have a complaint that I don't recall having seen in your column.
Announcements have begun to appear in church bulletins, etc., about special events for Mother's Day. These events are for mothers and daughters only; sons are excluded.
I am the mother of two wonderful sons, 14 and 15, who have brought me more happiness than I ever dreamed possible. My husband and I would rather spend time with our sons than with anyone else. They are quick-witted, intelligent, caring young men.
I used to be very involved in the church, helping with flower arrangements, food and planning for the mother-daughter banquets. During one of these banquets, I found myself in a room full of mothers who were with their daughters, and it made me feel very left out. I found it ironic that my husband was home with our sons while I was celebrating the event of motherhood without the very children who make it possible for me to celebrate the day at all! I have never attended another mother-daughter banquet.
Mothers and sons have a unique relationship. I understand that some outings should be for mothers and daughters only; however, the time to plan these events is not on or around Mother's Day. The only mother-daughter relationship I will ever enjoy is the one between my mother and me. Our relationship has been wonderful, but my mother understands that I cannot attend mother-daughter functions anymore because my sons are what my celebration is about.
On Father's Day, festivities revolve around both father-sons and father-daughters, but things seem to have stalled where mother-sons are concerned.
When mothers are honored, ALL mothers should be included. -- CINDY JENSEN-MICKLER, SIMPSONVILLE, S.C.
DEAR CINDY: You have a point. Since change must begin somewhere, why not begin with you in your own neighborhood or church? Organize a mother-son banquet, or at the very least, persuade the committee to change mother-daughter banquets to mother-children events. The ball is in your court.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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