DEAR ABBY: I have been married to "Peter" for almost four years, and we have three children under the age of 4. It is a second marriage for both of us, and I assumed it would be for a lifetime.
About a year ago, I discovered Peter was picking up prostitutes two to three times a week. When I confronted him, he accused me of making it up. He continued to cheat and has become physically abusive as well.
Peter expects me to behave as though nothing happened! My hopes and dreams have been destroyed by this man. I don't know if our marriage can survive the trauma. Can you shed some light on this for me? -- TIRED OF BEING A DOORMAT IN VIRGINIA
DEAR TIRED: Gladly, because it's time for you to SEE the light. Your husband is a sexually addicted abuser. Is this the kind of person you want to spend the rest of your life with? How do you think it will affect your children to see you being brutalized?
I urge you to make an appointment with your doctor to be sure your husband hasn't given you an STD -- or to be treated in case he has. Then call the domestic violence toll-free hotline: (800) 799-7233, and contact an attorney who specializes in family law.
DEAR ABBY: My husband took his own life nearly 30 years ago. I have been in individual and group therapy for 20 years and in 12-step recovery for 15. Not surprisingly, my problems affected my kids when they were young.
They both live far away now. My daughter, "Margie," is in therapy and recovery. My son is in denial.
Five years ago, Margie asked her brother and me not to contact her for a while. She said she needed time and space to work on specific issues independently. I have friends who have done this with good long-term results, so it made sense to me.
Recently a few friends have urged me to write Margie and tell her I miss her. Others, including my AA friends, praise my respect for her process and say they wish they had received similar support from their families.
I regard contacting her as disrespectful, if not abusive. The door is not closed. Margie said she would resume contact when she is ready.
What do you think? -- WILLING TO QUESTION
DEAR WILLING: Since you're gathering advice, I'll put in my 2 cents' worth. Five years of silence is enough. Write Margie and tell her that while you respect her "process," you miss her. If she ignores your letter, it's her prerogative. At least you will have made the gesture of trying to bridge the gap, and that is what is important.
DEAR ABBY: I was married a little over a year ago. My husband and I received many lovely gifts. I immediately sat down and wrote my thank-you notes. However, it's been a busy year and I haven't addressed the notes or mailed them yet.
Do you think it's too late? Or should I still send them? -- BLUSHING BRIDE IN BALTIMORE
DEAR BLUSHING BRIDE: It's never too late to do the gracious thing. Send 'em out!
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