Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Internet Poseur Is Cheating on His Real Life Partner

DEAR ABBY: I am 36 and "Vito," my significant other, is 44. I recently learned that he has been posing as a woman on an Internet swingers' site. He sends people naked photos of a girl -- and once I found a picture of a naked man. (Not him.) One of his objectives is to recruit couples for a threesome, and I believe he is also doing cybersex.

When I confronted Vito, he said it was just a joke. But it isn't the first time he has done this, and it is very hurtful.

Abby, Vito is sneaky, passive-aggressive and an alcoholic. I have always believed if you had to hide something from your partner or spouse, it was cheating. Is cybersex cheating? -- BLONDIE IN DAYTONA BEACH

DEAR BLONDIE: Yes, cybersex is cheating. When someone hides something from a spouse or partner, it's usually with the knowledge that the spouse or partner would disapprove.

Now, I have a question for you: Why are you wasting your time with someone who sneaks around looking for other sex partners? Romances like yours don't have happy endings. Be smart. Get checked for STDs and call it quits with Vito.

DEAR ABBY: My younger brother, who is 53, recently lost his job. His wife has never worked. They have spent their life traveling, driving expensive cars and entertaining lavishly. They never saved a nickel.

I, on the other hand, have always lived frugally. My wife and I put our kids through college, we live in a modest home, drive older cars and have never vacationed outside the United States. We have saved diligently and plan early retirement in a year or two.

My mother and sister think we should help my brother and his wife out by lending them money that we know will never be repaid. My brother has put me down for my thrifty ways, saying I could die tomorrow, then what good would all that money be?

Well, tomorrow is here. My wife and I are prepared for whatever life may deal us in the future. Mom and Sis are angry that we refuse to give money to my brother and his wife. They made their bed -- now they can lie in it.

Abby, please tell me if I'm right. -- ABLE BUT UNWILLING IN ALABAMA

DEAR ABLE: Your philosophy of financial planning has paid off, while your brother is now paying dearly for failing to provide for his future. Far be it from me to raise Cain with you about your decision, but if you felt comfortable, you wouldn't be asking me to endorse it.

DEAR ABBY: I work with a man named James. We have become friends over the past few weeks, and it's obvious there is an attraction between us. I would never want to break up a marriage, and I don't want to change our relationship. Is simply flirting with a married man -- who flirts back -- OK if neither of you has any intentions? -- LIKES THE ATTENTION IN NORTON, MASS.

DEAR LIKES THE ATTENTION: You say the two of you are "obviously" attracted to each other. That's how office romances begin. You are playing with fire. Listen to your gut (and nothing below) and you won't be sorry.

A NOTE TO PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN: If your little ones will be trick-or-treating this weekend, please be sure they are supervised to assure their safety.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $10 (U.S. funds)

to: Dear Abby -- Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64111; (816) 932-6600