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by Abigail Van Buren

Single Mom Keeps Secret Her Lover's Double Life

DEAR ABBY: I am a 37-year-old single mom of one. For the past seven years I've led a secret life, because the man I'm in love with is married. (I'll call him Mike.) Mike made a commitment to me to love me forever, and I believe him. He gives me the world.

My family loves Mike to death. They think we should be married because we make such a "perfect couple." They do not know he's married. I've kept this secret from them all these years. Mom went to her grave not knowing Mike has a wife.

I should mention that this man is 18 years my senior. When I met him, his marriage was "on the rocks." Mike was up-front with me about how he would never divorce because of his kids. He doesn't love his wife.

It's been a wonderful seven years. He's the only guy I've ever loved. I can't get enough of him. Should I sit tight and hope a divorce is in the future? -- I'VE GOT A SECRET IN TEXAS

DEAR I'VE GOT A SECRET: From what you have written, your lover has clearly stated that he does not intend to divorce his wife. I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you. He appears to like things just as they are.

DEAR ABBY: My husband of two years, "George," is a terrific person. I have a teenage daughter, "Jill," from a previous relationship who lives with us, and they've always gotten along beautifully.

About two years ago I had a falling-out with my sister and we didn't speak more than 10 words until last week, when she offered me a truce. I gratefully accepted.

The problem is that Jill continued a relationship with my sister while we were feuding, and my husband found out about it. George won't forgive and forget. He hasn't talked to Jill in a week, and I have been caught in the middle. Yesterday I upset George further when I failed to give him my full attention, and now he isn't speaking to me either! Abby, what can I do to restore the peace in our home? -- TIRED OF THE TENSION, AKRON, OHIO

DEAR TIRED: I don't approve of your husband's tactics. The terms "passive aggression," "manipulation" and "withholding" all come to mind. Your daughter is old enough to have the right to carry on a relationship with any relative she chooses. As to how to restore peace in your home -- family counseling would be helpful.

DEAR ABBY: My parents get drunk every weekend. Dad's OK by Monday morning, but Mother stays drunk all Monday and Monday night.

Is this normal? I need to know in a hurry. I'm afraid to give you my name and address. -- TEENAGER IN MOBILE, ALA.

DEAR TEENAGER: Your parents' behavior is NOT "normal." They need help -- and so do you. Please talk to a trusted aunt, uncle, neighbor, minister, the parent of one of your friends, a teacher, nurse or coach at your school. A responsible adult needs to know what is going on in your home and how it is affecting you.

In addition, check your phone directory for the Alateen listing. The organization provides information and emotional support to young people in your situation -- and right now you need support from understanding friends.

Please let me know how you are doing. I care.

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