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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Is Desperate to Get Son Off Her Couch and on His Own

DEAR ABBY: I need advice. I am a woman in my mid-30s, married more than 10 years, and the mother of two children. My husband, "Howard," is a good father and has an important job with a six-figure income. I don't have to work. I buy whatever I want and Howard doesn't mind.

My problem is, I don't think I'm in love with Howard. He has an extremely low sex drive. We haven't been intimate in years. In fact, out of frustration, I moved out of the bedroom last year. I have tried talking to him about our problem to no avail. He refuses to go to counseling.

To complicate matters, three years ago I began an affair with a married man. Although he and his wife have children, they are divorcing. We want to be together, but I don't know if I can leave Howard. My lover earns less than half of what Howard makes, plus he will have to pay child support. I don't know if I can manage on his salary. Please understand, I don't work because I don't want to put my kids in day care.

As I see it, I have three choices:

(1) Continue the affair and hope nobody finds out.

(2) Leave Howard and hope my lover and I can make it on his small salary.

(3) End the affair.

If we end the affair, I think one of us would have to move. We live in a small town and travel in the same social circles. This whole thing is driving me crazy. What should I do? -- FRUSTRATED IN FLORIDA

DEAR FRUSTRATED: In a nutshell, it comes down to this: Which is more important to you -- sex or money? Both are powerful motivators, but only you can answer that question.