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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Struggles to Escape Her Ties to Drug Using Cheat

DEAR ABBY: I am 38 and was in a relationship for 12 years. We had three beautiful children together. "John" started cheating on me a few months after we began dating and wound up cheating on me 14 times throughout our relationship. He has been into the drug scene and served some time in prison for setting a church fire.

John and I never married, but I remained faithful to him. He has been in a federal prison for almost five years, but we communicate through letters and phone calls. I have no trust in this relationship anymore and get aggravated when I hear his voice. I want to move on, but something keeps holding me back. I feel I am running out of time. Can you help me figure out what to do with my life, Abby? -- KATIE IN WEST VIRGINIA

DEAR KATIE: Wake up and smell the coffee. The man to whom you have given your heart is a philandering, drug-using pyromaniac. He has no respect for the house of God and what it represents, and if he loved you and his children, he would have married you and shown some responsibility years ago.

Here is what to do with your life: Stop accepting his phone calls. If you haven't already done so, figure out how you are going to support yourself and the children.

Your future is ahead of you, so stop looking backward. There is no reason you cannot have a full life and a rewarding relationship with a man if you want it. But regardless of what he might say or promise, that man isn't John, so let him go. Concentrate on the present, and the future will take care of itself.

DEAR ABBY: My relationship with "Horace" has been going well for several months. We're both in our early 40s. He drives 100 miles each weekend to spend time with me. The problem is he has a bad case of sleep apnea and refuses to see a doctor.

I am afraid he'll have a heart attack in his sleep. Horace is a heavy guy and he snores so loud the neighbors complain. He holds his breath, then jerks around until he can gasp air in again. It's scary.

I know there's treatment for this, but Horace is sure he'll need surgery. He hasn't been to a doctor since he was a child, and I think he's afraid he'll have to change his lifestyle. Any advice would be appreciated. -- CAROLE IN CLEVELAND

DEAR CAROLE: Horace has a serious medical problem. Tell him that you care for him and think you have a future together -- but only if he's living. There are treatments for sleep apnea that don't require surgery. The first step is for Horace to consult a sleep disorder specialist and be properly evaluated. Since he doesn't have a physician, perhaps your doctor could suggest a clinic.

Another source of information that could be helpful is It provides a forum that facilitates the exchange of information and ideas for persons affected by this condition.

There is a solution to Horace's problem. However, to find it he must behave like an adult and face the fact that he has a problem.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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