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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Who Secretly Strayed Is Home Under False Pretenses

DEAR ABBY: "Janice" and I have been friends for nearly 10 years. A few months ago, her husband, "Jimmy," confided to my husband he was having an affair and planned to leave Janice and the children to live with his lover. Jimmy swore my husband to secrecy, but of course my husband told me everything. There are no secrets in our home.

Jimmy told Janice only that he wanted a separation. She was devastated. In the meantime, Jimmy's lover left him and went back to her husband. Because Jimmy didn't want to be alone, he stayed with Janice, saying he had changed his mind about the separation and wanted to work things out.

Janice has no idea what her husband has been up to. She thinks his wanting to leave was all her fault. Now she's bending over backward trying to make Jimmy's life as comfortable and cozy as possible so he won't want to separate again.

It makes me sick to see that louse get away with it, while my friend is walking on eggshells. I'm having a hard time keeping quiet. Every time I'm around Janice I practically bite my tongue off! Should I tell her the truth? -- CONCERNED FRIEND IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

DEAR CONCERNED FRIEND: Recognize that if you tell her, there will be a nuclear explosion -- and the fallout will land on you and your husband.

That said, Janice should know that her husband has a wandering eye and that it's "possible" while her husband was "considering separation," he had sex with someone else. Encourage Janice to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as a precaution. She deserves to know so she can protect herself, because I predict it's only a matter of time until her husband strays again.