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by Abigail Van Buren

Second Husband Refuses to Play Second Fiddle

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating my ex-husband for five years. (He was my second husband.) We divorced in the mid-1990s. Two years ago, he took a job out of state, but we have continued to see each other. When we're alone together, we have a wonderful time and are very happy.

The problem is between him and my son from my first marriage. They do not get along, never have and probably never will. It was the reason our marriage failed.

My son has just graduated from high school and will be going to a local college in the fall. My ex thinks it is time for me to sell my house and move in with him. If I do that, it will leave my son with no home base.

Abby, I love my son. He has never been in trouble and is an honor student. Even though he is 18, I know he still needs me close by for the next few years. I also love my ex, but he has terminated our relationship because he says I have made him "second fiddle" by not agreeing to sell my house and join him at this time. I offered to keep my home here and travel back and forth as needed until my son is out of college. My ex insists that is ridiculous.

I am brokenhearted. What other solution could I have possibly made? -- SAD IN OHIO

DEAR SAD: None. Your ex gave you an ultimatum -- to choose between him and your flesh and blood. It's the reason your marriage didn't survive.

Now, may I tell you how much I respect you for making the decision you did? Many women would have made the selfish choice and rationalized it by saying that, at 18, the young man was old enough to be on his own.

If your second husband really loved you, he would have won your heart with his maturity and patience and made sure that your love story had a happy ending for all concerned. Remember that -- and your broken heart will heal faster.

DEAR ABBY: Can a man father a child 10 years after he's been shot in the testicles (one had to be removed) and in the stomach, and endured surgery and three blood transfusions?

I have been with this man for 13 years and we have an 11-year-old son. I have not gotten pregnant by him since, even though we have tried. All of a sudden, this girl he has been involved with on the side is saying she is pregnant after all his injuries! Is this possible?

I slept with him around the same time she says she conceived. How come I'm not pregnant? If anyone is pregnant, it should be me. Can someone just pop up pregnant under these circumstances? -- BAWLING IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR BAWLING: Not knowing the extent of the man's injuries, I can only answer that, yes, it may be possible that he is the father. If there is any question in his mind, he should discuss it with his doctor to determine his sperm count -- and with his lawyer to determine his liability.

DEAR ABBY: As a child growing up, I remember my aunt reciting, "If 'its' and 'ands' were pots and pans, ..." and the rest escapes my memory. This little poem has been going round and round in my head, and it drives me wild that I can't remember the whole thing.

I know this isn't a serious problem, Abby, but I would appreciate any help you or your readers can give me. Thanks. -- DESPERATE IN OHIO

READERS: If any of you can help "Desperate in Ohio," please don't be shy.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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