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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I must respond to "I've Got a Secret in Texas." She's the woman who has been dating a married man for seven years and hopes he will leave his wife for her, despite the fact that he told her he won't because of his children. She asked if she should "sit tight and wait."

She has already wasted seven years of her life. I hope she doesn't waste any more. She needs to get her act together and dump that bum. If she ever is unlucky enough to marry him, he will turn around, meet another woman and tell her the same lies. He's using his kids as an excuse. I bet when they find out what he's up to, they'll be glad to get rid of him, too. My kids certainly were. -- SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE IN INDIANA

DEAR SPEAKING: It is sad that some women are so gullible and needy they believe only what they are told, refusing to recognize that their lover's words do not match his actions. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: That "Texas" woman is wasting her time. My dad cheated on my mother for most of their married life. He and his girlfriend dated for years. She had two children with him while he and Mom were still married.

When Mom died, Dad didn't marry the girlfriend. Instead, he began dating other women. Dad is dead now. The girlfriend never married.

Please urge "I've Got a Secret" to kick lover boy to the curb and get on with her life. -- DAPHNE IN NEW ORLEANS

DEAR DAPHNE: I said it differently. I told her not to hold her breath because he seemed to like things as they are. Several other readers shared similar stories.

DEAR ABBY: Please wake that foolish woman up. She is only hurting herself. She's addicted to the excitement of the secret affair. Hers is a fantasy relationship, not a real one. It is very easy to maintain romance on a part-time basis. When the affair becomes public, the pain and the shame involved are never worth the excitement.

I hope she does the right thing for herself, her child and his children. It's time for her to end the affair and look for a real partner. I speak from experience. -- BETRAYED BUT RECOVERING, DAYTON, OHIO

DEAR RECOVERING: I, too, hope she finds the strength to do the right thing. If my mail is any indication, she's fighting a losing battle. Even if she should beat the odds and "win" -- because of the children, her husband would always be tied to the woman he betrayed.

DEAR ABBY: Our son is being married in June. We are now in the process of preparing the guest list. Two of our close relatives live in nursing homes and do not get out to visit anymore. One is a dear aunt, the other is the groom's uncle.

Should we send them invitations? We would like to, but we're afraid it would appear we're asking for a gift. -- UNDECIDED IN ST. PAUL

DEAR UNDECIDED: Instead of sending them invitations, send a card or chatty letter bringing the relatives up-to-date on what's happening in your family -- and an announcement after the wedding so they remain "in the loop." That way, they can share in your joy without feeling obligated in any way.

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.)

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