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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My first husband died of cancer in 1997. In 1999, I met a man on the Internet -- I'll call him Roland. Roland and I have been married for 23 months. He is a division chaplain (colonel) in the Army Reserves, a part-time pastor in a small church and also a marriage therapist.

Roland has suddenly decided he doesn't want to be married anymore. Last summer he bought a red Corvette, and recently he purchased a bottle of Grecian Formula. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered e-mails he had written to other women saying he wants a "special lady" in his life. (Abby, that's what I thought I was!)

Please warn women about being on the Internet, even the Christian sites. At 55, I'm facing being single again, and it's no fun. Roland is sweet, charming, and even says grace in restaurants before a meal. I'm not the kind of woman who "has" to have a man, thank goodness, but I just thought I had met the right one. Where did I go wrong? -- DISILLUSIONED IN CLARKSVILLE, TENN.

DEAR DISILLUSIONED: You naively believed that a man you met on a Christian Web site was automatically a "good" Christian. I don't know what problems he brought to the relationship, but it appears he started having one heck of a midlife crisis last summer. Either that, or you married a wolf in pastor's clothing.

Although you're not the kind of woman who "has" to have a man, please don't lose faith in all men. There are some terrific men out there, but none of them comes with a money-back guarantee.

DEAR ABBY: My husband of 55 years used to be verbally abusive when things didn't go right for him.

Some years ago, you suggested that if someone was angry with his or her spouse, a list of 10 admirable qualities be written down before expressing anger.

My husband took your advice. He composed a list of 13 things he admired about me and gave it to me. Abby, he has been a new person since then, and reading his list has made me a better person, too.

Other people should try it. I have enclosed his list in case you would like to share it with your readers. -- BERTHA IN PIQUA, OHIO

DEAR BERTHA: I'm almost hesitant to do so, for fear that you'll be stolen away by someone who wants to place you on an even higher pedestal.


(1) Good mother to the kids

(2) Good worker

(3) Helped me get a house

(4) Helped me leave the farm

(5) Is respected by others

(6) Is dependable and faithful

(7) Good cook and housekeeper

(8) Good with business

(9) Good shopper and money manager

(10) Good seamstress and canner

(11) Good education; very smart

(12) Good lover

(13) Good-looking, neat, and good dresser

P.S. Bertha, now it's time for you to list your husband's finer qualities. First on the list should be his willingness to change.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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