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by Abigail Van Buren

Visit by Ex Mistress Would Cause Man's Family Distress

DEAR ABBY: I'd like to pose a question. A man is dying. If I went to visit him, he would be delighted to see me. Even though I haven't seen him in years, it would bring back happy memories for him. Neither his wife nor his children know that I exist.

After much soul-searching, I have decided that I won't go. I came to the conclusion that a visit would be disruptive and cause the family pain and suffering, as well as warping their memories of a wonderful man. But as I pondered this question, I wondered how many wives might accept such a visit, knowing that it would provide some solace to a man whom they both love. -- THE MISTRESS

DEAR MISTRESS: Probably not many. If the family resided in Europe, where mistresses are more common, such a visit might be welcomed. However, in the United States, we have a more disapproving attitude about extramarital relationships, and wives of dying husbands are not likely to appreciate a visit from a secret "admirer." Better to let lying dogs sleep.