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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife's Personal Vow Traps Her in Loveless Marriage

DEAR ABBY: I am a 39-year-old married woman who has lost all hope. My convictions and emotions are in severe conflict.

I'm a deeply devout person, which made the divorce from my first husband extremely traumatic. When I remarried, I made a religious commitment that I would make my second marriage work, and under no circumstances would I ever leave my new husband.

Because of that commitment, I feel I must honor my pledge -- even though there is no love, no intimacy and no marriage anymore. My husband has refused me children and provides me nothing but cold, unwanted solitude in our home. It's tearing me apart.

Even though the love is gone (on both sides) and I want out, counseling is not the answer because I have made a pledge to keep my marriage vows.

I know that being denied everything I need and want in life is the root of my constant, severe depression. My doctor has tried to help with prescriptions, but they're not working.

My husband is much older than I am and content to have me "there" for him. I feel more trapped in this marriage than I did in my first. How can I go on with life when there IS no life?

Abby, all I want is to get out of this marriage so I can start over -- but my oath is holding me hostage. Please help. -- SICK AT HEART

DEAR SICK AT HEART: Speak to your spiritual adviser to relieve you of the burden of your well-intentioned but unrealistic oath. It takes two committed people to make a marriage work, and your husband has broken his marriage vows by not fulfilling his responsibilities to be a partner who loves you as he loves himself. Ask yourself if a loving God would want you to remain in a loveless marriage that is a marriage in name only.

Your marriage ended a long time ago -- and since your husband is unwilling to work to revive it, the time has come to accept that reality and move on.

DEAR ABBY: I am 13 years old, and my mom died a couple of months ago. I have been living with my grandparents most of my life, but I still felt close to her.

My grandparents never approved of her as a mother, and I don't know how to ask them if I could visit her grave every once in a while.

Should I ask them, and if I do ask them, what should I say? Please help me. -- ANONY-MISS IN N.Y.

DEAR MISS: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your mother. Even though you lived apart, it is clear that you loved her very much.

Unless the cemetery is a great distance away, I see no reason why you shouldn't be permitted to visit your mother's grave and pay your respects. Tell your grandparents that you understand they had their differences with her, but she was still your mother, and you would like to do this because although she is gone, you still feel a bond with her. If they give you an argument, tell them I suggested you speak up. You have a right to your feelings. They are valid.

DEAR ABBY: I was born with a rare disorder that causes me to have spasms. I also have spina bifida. After many years, I found the man of my dreams, and we are being married next spring. What horrifies me is the fear of having a spasm while walking down the aisle. I have a lovely dress, but how will I get down the aisle gracefully without help from my walker? -- WORRIED BRIDE-TO-BE

DEAR WORRIED: Ask in advance that two reliable friends or family members be seated on the aisle and prepared to help you walk down the aisle in case you need them. Have your walker situated near the altar. Consider taking your vows seated rather than standing. Also consider decorating your walker with flowers and ribbons in case you need it. My best wishes to you and your fiance.

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 in the price.)

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