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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom's Method of Motivation Is Really Just Verbal Abuse

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 20 years to my high school sweetheart. He's a great father and a hard worker. He has always been good to me -- until a year ago when he came to me and confessed that he'd cheated on me with my best friend. I was devastated. The friendship was over, and I made my husband leave.

After things calmed down, we decided to try and work things out because we still loved each other and wanted to try -- not just for us -- but for our children.

I'm trying to pick up the pieces and trust him again, but there's a problem. His job takes him out of town for days at a time, and when he comes home, I'm always checking his cell phone and credit card bills for any sign that he's been unfaithful again. It's been more than a year, but I still don't trust him -- or anyone, for that matter. When he's home, we argue a lot.

The other day, he said, "Let's get the kids, take off for the weekend and renew our vows, because I want to spend the rest of my life with you." Our anniversary is coming up, but I thought it was an odd suggestion, given all our problems. I'm confused and deeply hurt and don't know what I should do. Can you help me? -- NO LONGER TRUSTING IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR NO LONGER TRUSTING: Your husband suggested renewing your vows because he loves you and wants to make a fresh start. It's his way of trying to heal your marriage. However, what's ailing your marriage is the fact you no longer trust him and really haven't forgiven him for straying. Marriage counseling could help you both get past this. Once you have truly forgiven and are ready to make a fresh start, then renewing your vows is a wonderful idea.