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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: In 1982, I married the man of my dreams. In 1995, he had an affair with our son's fourth-grade teacher. In 1997, he moved our family 2,300 miles away from our relatives and friends. Early in 2001, he met a woman on the Internet and began an affair. Late in 2001, he walked out, abandoning his family physically and financially.

Abby, please answer these questions:

1. Do you think he will do the same to the woman he is with now?

2. Will he ever fully understand what he has done and what he has lost? (Our children are devastated.)

3. Do you think one day he will want to come home? (My friends think he will, but if he does, I wouldn't know what to do.)

Thanks for your advice. -- BETRAYED IN SALT LAKE CITY


1. Probably.

2. Probably not, since he appears to be without a conscience.

3. Only if his other relationships don't work out.

If your (former) husband should return, my advice would be to maintain your emotional and financial independence, because he has proved three times that you cannot depend on him.

DEAR ABBY: I was married less than two months ago. My husband, parents and I paid for everything. We had a tight budget, so my bridesmaids paid for their own dresses and hairstyles. My friend "Misty" was in the wedding. She was paired to walk down the aisle with one of my husband's best friends, "Stu." Misty and Stu hit it off, and as a result, they are being married in the fall.

My husband and I have not been asked to be in their wedding. We are very disappointed since we were the matchmakers.

Misty has now asked to borrow the very expensive crinoline that I bought and wore under my wedding dress. She claims her budget is tight and she can't afford one. The truth is, she's having a much larger wedding than mine, with all the extras I couldn't afford.

I want to tell Misty that she can't borrow my crinoline, but I feel pressured to come up with a good excuse. What do you think, Abby? Do you think I'm being selfish? -- NEW BRIDE IN NEW ENGLAND

DEAR NEW BRIDE: I understand you are hurt not to be in the wedding, but take the high road. Lend her your crinoline. The chances of your wearing it again are slim, unless there's a drastic change in fashion trends. When you get it back, it will be twice blessed, and you will be a bigger person for having lent it.

DEAR ABBY: A year ago I had my name legally changed. I never liked the first name I was given, so I feel good about the fact that I did something about it.

My problem is people keep asking me why I changed my name, and I can't come up with a good response. I know why I did it, but I don't think I owe an explanation to anyone.

Abby, is there a simple answer for someone who asks without having to offer a long, drawn-out explanation? -- A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME

DEAR ROSE: Simply say, "I prefer this one. I see myself more of a 'Betty' than a 'Laura'" -– then change the subject.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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