DEAR ABBY: I have been married to "Jared" for 14 years. We have two small boys. Last year (the day after Mother's Day) I found an explicit video of my husband having sex with a woman on our living room couch. I made him leave at once, and he was gone for two months.
Our youngest was only 2 at the time, and began throwing terrible tantrums -- biting, hitting, kicking. I finally let Jared come home with the understanding he would sleep in another room downstairs. The next thing I knew he was back in my bed.
I can honestly say I no longer like my husband. He is always angry, and nothing I do is ever right. However, since he makes a great deal more money than I do, if we split up, our children would have to do without things they're used to. How could we, without making them suffer, Abby?
I know it would be better for the boys if Jared and I stayed together, but I can't stand for him to touch me. Please help. I want to break this hold he has on me and the kids. -- COMPLETELY MISERABLE IN COLORADO
DEAR COMPLETELY MISERABLE: (1) Try to find a higher-paying job. (2) Get child care. (3) Seek marriage counseling. If your husband refuses to go, go alone. (4) If his behavior doesn't change, consult a lawyer.
P.S. If necessary, your counselor will help you to guide your children through the adjustment to their new circumstances. Good luck.
DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Former Mistress in Mourning," whose married lover dumped her after his wife died, reminded me how creative women in adulterous relationships can be. To say she and her lover were "discreet and respectful" with his wife while they were cheating on her is truly amazing. It is a poor attempt at justifying bad behavior.
Your reply about her ex-lover was right on. If he IS suffering guilt, it probably means he has a conscience. Our society would do well to remember that good mental health results from treating others as we would like to be treated. That would include a hands-off approach to married members of the opposite sex. Too bad more men and women aren't taught this anymore. -- OLD-FASHIONED IN MICHIGAN
DEAR OLD-FASHIONED: They're taught it -- they just ignore it once the hormones take over. Or they're sold a bill of goods by the straying spouse.
DEAR ABBY: "Jenny" and I have been married nine years and are now trying to start a family. She's a great-looking woman and I love her very much just as she is. However, there is something about her that I think could use some improvement.
Jenny's two front teeth tend to angle inward and she has a lower tooth that's discolored. I see clear braces advertised, and whitening products that are also available. How can I make these suggestions without causing problems? Jenny is 34, beautiful, but extremely sensitive.
Abby, please don't tell me that because she's beautiful I should appreciate her "as is" -- I think she could be even more beautiful. -- HELPFUL HUSBAND IN TENNESSEE
DEAR HELPFUL HUSBAND: Talk to your wife's dentist about your observations. I'm sure she would not take offense if, at the time of her next checkup, her dentist mentioned the new techniques and options that are now available.
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