Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Man Reconciling With Wife Discovers Unexpected Rival

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I recently got back together after a year's separation. I made a lot of mistakes and have been trying hard to make it up to her. We are now getting along better than ever.

There is, however, a terrible, nagging doubt in my mind. In the year that we were separated, my wife became good friends with a lesbian. I would never have suspected anything more than a good friendship existed, except for two reasons: First of all, things between us are great everywhere except in bed. I'm not the most sensitive guy, but her lack of enthusiasm in this department is obvious.

Second, one day last week I was supposed to meet her at her office for lunch. When I arrived, there was a note for me to wait in her office until she returned from a meeting. Being curious about her various projects, I looked through her files. I came across a file with the gay woman's name on it. I couldn't resist. I read through it and was shocked. In the file was a collection of beautiful love letters and poems written by this woman to my wife. Some of the poems were very erotic.

Abby, I can't stop thinking about the possibility that my wife was -- or still is -- lovers with this woman. It's torturing me. Should I confront her with my suspicions or should I keep my mouth shut? -- TORTURED IN OREGON

DEAR TORTURED: Whether you should confront her depends upon how much you want to know. Think the matter through carefully. How will it affect your reconciliation if you confirm that your wife did have a lesbian relationship during your separation, that she is still having one, or that she's bisexual? You will then have to decide if you can accept her as she is, or whether it's back to square one in your marriage -- again facing a split.

Of course, only you can make the decision, but I advise you to proceed with extreme caution.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year, but I recently moved 2,000 miles away. We decided to stay together because we really love each other. I know he is the one I want to marry.

The problem is that he says he's going to move here to be with me, but he doesn't know when he will be able to let go of our old hometown. His mother died almost four years ago and is buried in the town cemetery, and he doesn't know if he can leave her.

What should I do? Should I move back to be with him, or wait it out and see how long it will take him to come here? I am very confused. Please help. -- LOST IN ARIZONA

DEAR LOST: Your boyfriend's roots in that town go deeper than his mother. He may be having second thoughts about continuing your relationship. You must decide if he's worth waiting for, or whether you should return home to join him in his graveside vigil.

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600