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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I loved, loved, loved the column about signs that indicate a spouse is cheating. I sent it to my former husband with red "x's" next to every point that reminded me of him. Since our divorce 22 years ago, he has remarried twice.

You hit the nail on the head when you listed "changes in grooming." My 55-year-old Romeo went out and bought hair dye and began to blow-dry his hair every morning to hide his large bald spot.

He had taken his wedding ring off years before, saying he couldn't wear it around the machines at work. But he didn't work seven days a week, and he was a supervisor. His men did all the work. (His company later demoted him for sexual harassment.)

The "emergency errands" you mentioned were hilarious. One night my ex said he had to get oil for the car immediately. When I casually-on-purpose suggested I accompany him, he went to the garage to pretend to take another look, then came back and said he didn't need the oil after all.

At the time of our divorce, I found a package of condoms in his fishing tackle box. I kept the package and stomped on all his lures and other fishing equipment. It was a few days before fishing season opened in Wisconsin.

A day or two later, I discovered another package of the same brand in my daughter's dresser drawer. She had been away at college for six months. (I had wanted to launder things in her underwear drawer when I came upon the package.) When I confronted my husband, who thought he'd had a sure bet with that hiding place, he said, "Don't tell 'Joanie' you found them in case they're hers." I screamed at him, "In case they're HERS, you creep!" Only the Lord must have kept me from getting a knife from the kitchen that night to use on a man who'd accuse his own daughter to get himself off the hook. It was the last straw.

So, Abby, if you think that you have heard it all, trust me -- you haven't. I don't miss him. And I will never remarry because of the alimony. My only regret is that I didn't throw him out sooner. -- HELL HATH NO FURY IN MILWAUKEE

DEAR H.H.N.F.: Just when I think I HAVE heard it all, a letter like yours comes along! I don't blame you for being angry. But please don't make it a career. Hate corrodes the vessel that carries it.

DEAR ABBY: My high school friends have invited me to a party that's coming up soon. I know there's going to be beer, drugs and sex. I was thinking about not showing up, but I don't want to let my friends down. Maybe I'll tell them an emergency came up and I had to go to the hospital. I don't like making up lies, but I don't know what else to do. What do you think? -- TEXAS DUDE

DEAR DUDE: I'm impressed that you are not caving into peer pressure. You deserve to be commended.

Make other plans so you won't have to lie. Then tell your friends you have another commitment. That way, you'll be telling the truth.

DEAR ABBY: Do you think I am selfish because I want to go on a ski vacation without my pregnant wife? At the time of the trip, she'll be eight months along. She says I'm being inconsiderate. Am I? -- SKI BUMMED

DEAR SKI BUMMED: I think so. Babies have been known to arrive early. And while you're on the slopes, your wife may need "a lift" to the hospital.

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