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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband's Sexual Obsession Takes Toll on Wife's Health

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 13 years. During that time, my husband, "Newton," has had several affairs, but I forgave him and we managed to patch things up.

Around 1995, I noticed a change in Newton's sexual behavior. Porno magazines began arriving and charges showed up on our credit card for sexual sites on the Internet. I thought about leaving, but by then we had two daughters.

I recently went to visit my parents in another state for a weekend. It was the first time since our marriage that I went alone. While I was gone, Newton bought some kind of sexual-enhancer vitamins for women. We've always had an active sex life, and I didn't think I needed enhancers.

One morning I drove our girls to school, and when I returned home to do the breakfast dishes, I found "stuff" floating in the coffee pot. I confronted Newton. At first he denied it, but eventually he admitted that he had crushed two of the vitamins and put them in the coffee -- after conveniently getting himself a cup first.

I have lost 17 pounds since then without trying. My doctor can find nothing wrong with me. I now wonder what Newton will do next, but honestly, nothing would surprise me anymore. My world revolved around him. I love him, but I know I am no longer IN love with him.

Abby, I came from a broken home. I never wanted that for my children. Newton knows this, and I think he uses it to his advantage. I am only here because of our children and because I'm not sure I have the confidence to start over. -- TIRED OF PLAYING THE FOOL IN COLORADO

DEAR TIRED: For the sake of your health and sanity, it's time to separate and get some counseling. The coffee in your house isn't the only thing that's toxic. The alternative to finding the confidence to start over appears to be hiring a food taster.

It's a toss-up whether your husband is so hooked on pornography that he is out of touch with reality -- and therefore expects you to perform with the abandon of a porn star -- or whether he is totally without empathy for others. Either way, you and the girls will be safer away from him.

DEAR ABBY: Do you think it is possible to lead a happy, fulfilled life if you never fall in love with someone and have a lasting relationship? I have a good job, own my own home, have many wonderful friends, and I know I should not feel empty because I don't have a relationship -- but I do. -- LONELY IN TEXAS

DEAR LONELY: Of course it's possible. But not if the person is preoccupied with what he or she "might" be missing. What comes to mind are people who dedicate their lives to animals, various causes, and those who enter religious orders.

Since you would like to have a relationship, it's time to expand your circle of friends and activities and go online to see if you can find someone compatible. But please bear in mind that there are worse things than being alone, and one of them is being married to the wrong person.

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