DEAR ABBY: To those who wonder, "Can people fall back in love after having an affair?" the answer is yes. Here's what happened to me:
Six years ago, my wife found out that I had been having an affair with a woman at work for more than three years. Her husband called my wife and told her all the details. It happened five days before Christmas, and I had to call both our families to explain why we would not be attending the holiday gatherings. I also had to explain to our teen-age daughter why I was moving out of our home.
We are a very close family, and when I faced the ugliness of what I had done and the hurt I caused, I realized what a fool I'd been.
After convincing my wife that I would do absolutely anything to stay married to her, she allowed me to move back home and seemed willing to give it a try.
We worked with a wonderful counselor who helped us to rediscover each other, and we fell in love all over again -- 25 years after we'd done it the first time. We also became best friends, and truly have a dream marriage now.
Abby, I will always feel guilt and sadness about what I did. However, love and forgiveness gave us a way to begin again. -- BLESSED IN ALABAMA
DEAR BLESSED: That must have been one chilly Christmas. I'm pleased your story has a happy ending.
Many people will be reassured by your testimonial that a marriage can survive after infidelity has been uncovered. The most important ingredient for a successful marriage is two people who really need each other. That understood, with counseling and both parties willing to work at rebuilding their relationship, there's no reason for a reconciliation to fail.
DEAR ABBY: Operation Dear Abby, your annual call for letters to servicepersons stationed on foreign soil during the holidays, should be extended to include veterans in hospitals and nursing homes.
Although many of these veterans have family and friends to visit and write to them, others are alone. I volunteer a couple of days a week at a veterans home in Oregon. I drive their recreational bus for field trips and help with the needs of the veterans while we're on trips. However, there are many other needs volunteers could fill: reading to veterans, writing letters for them, or just spending a little time visiting with them.
If some of your readers would like to help and there are no nearby veteran facilities, the American Legion, the VFW or the library can provide an address to which they can send cards and letters. Veterans hospitals are located all over the United States.
Thank you for considering an extension to your Operation Dear Abby. -- BONNIE L. KENDALL, DALLESPORT, WASH.
DEAR BONNIE: That's a terrific idea. We owe our freedom to our veterans. But why stop with volunteering during the holidays? Volunteering 12 months a year -- if possible -- would be a meaningful gift to those who sacrificed so much for us.
Readers, our veterans are waiting and they need you. The time you give them will be much appreciated. You'll get more than you give by volunteering. I always have.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-size, 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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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