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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for eight years, married for seven. During the last five years, he has picked fights with me. He tells me I'm worthless, that he doesn't care if we have sex or not because he can get it someplace else, and that I'm stupid.

I have been depressed for nearly six years. I want to get on anti-depressants, but my husband doesn't believe in them and doesn't want me on them. I cry myself to sleep at night and have even started having nightmares. I went through this when I was young, after my mom moved out. I know what depression is, but I can't convince my husband that I need the medicine.

During our last fight, he told me the only reason he ever said he was sorry and I'm still around is because he wants me here so he can have the kids around all the time, and because it's convenient. He apologized later, but I'm left wondering if he said it only to keep me around waiting on him hand and foot.

Please help me. My husband doesn't believe in counseling. –- BEATEN DOWN IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR BEATEN DOWN: Since when do you need anyone's permission to talk to a doctor? Please do so right away to discuss your long history of depression. While you are there, mention the fact that your husband is verbally abusive and ask for a referral to a licensed marriage counselor. Should your verbally abusive spouse refuse to go with you, go without him. Your mental heath must come first. Once you start feeling better about yourself, you'll be better able to deal with your husband.

P.S. If your physician feels you should be on medication, then what your husband thinks or says about it should be of no consequence. Take your cues from your doctor.

DEAR ABBY: My sister, "June," came to live with my husband and me two years ago because living arrangements with her son didn't work out. Since then, my husband of 50 years has passed on. My house is too big for me to take care of because I have medical problems of my own.

June doesn't help with any of the household chores or bills. I have wanted to sell my house ever since my children moved out years ago, but my husband wanted to keep it in case any of them needed to come back.

Four of my children have invited me into their homes, but what should I do with June? I love my sister and don't want to throw her out into the street, but I want to move on. Please help me. -- TORN SENIOR IN NEW YORK

DEAR TORN: You were wonderful to have provided a refuge for your sister when she needed it. However, she's an able-bodied adult and should not be your responsibility. It's time for your sister to make other living arrangements. Talk to her and set a date for her to move. If she can't afford to live alone, she should find a roommate with whom to share expenses. You have done enough.

DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband, the father of my children, is very ill. I'd like some advice regarding proper etiquette should something happen to him. I'd like to attend his funeral, and he has never remarried -- so what is my role in all of this? -- NEEDS TO KNOW IN FLORIDA

DEAR NEEDS TO KNOW: Your "role" should be to support your children and offer condolences to his family if he has any. Since you are divorced, you are no longer a part of the family, nor are you considered to be his widow. Dress inconspicuously and take your cues from the grieving family.

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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