DEAR ABBY: I was visiting my friend, "Carla," last week and arrived a little early on our way to go shopping. While I was waiting for her to dress, I noticed some photographs on her kitchen counter. I browsed through them and was shocked to see they were pictures of Carla and her husband, "Cesare," naked, in various positions and stages.
Cesare has always flirted with me. He has even suggested on a couple of occasions that he'd like to take me out. Of course, I deflected his advances.
But now, after seeing these pictures, I am torn. Cesare is extremely "manly." My husband is a kind and gentle person, but he has nothing close to what Cesare has to offer. Now, whenever I see Carla's husband, I flash back to those pictures and can't help fantasizing about what it would be like to be with him. This has begun to affect my sex life with my husband. I know it's wrong, but I can't help it.
Should I tell Carla I saw the pictures? Should I tell her that Cesare has been coming on to me? Help! -- TEMPTED IN CAROLINA
DEAR TEMPTED: I see nothing to be gained by telling your friend you saw the pictures, nor do I think it would help the situation to tell her that her husband has been coming on to you. The fantasy in which you are indulging is a common one, but let's get real here -- not all daydreams make for a pleasant reality. My advice is to snap out of it and find something else to occupy your mind, because from my perspective, it seems you have too much time on your hands.
DEAR ABBY: When I was 7 or 8, I was molested by a friend of the family -- but my real problem is my mother. After the incident, I had nightmares and wanted my mother to sleep with me. One morning I woke up and felt her touching me where I shouldn't be touched. I didn't know what to do, so I moved away from her. It happened three more times, until I finally asked her to stop sleeping with me.
I am now 14, and about to become an aunt. I'm afraid of what my mother might do to the baby. I'm afraid to say anything because I don't think anyone will believe me. (After the incidents I became distant to Mother and we don't get along.)
What should I do about this, and what would make her do such a thing to her own daughter, knowing I was already trying to get over having been molested? -- SCARED IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR SCARED: Your mother is sick. Your concerns about the baby are justified, and you have kept this secret too long. Please tell the parents-to-be so they can protect their little one from your mother. Because you are afraid you may not be believed, start out this way: "You may have wondered why I don't get along with Mother. This is the reason -- and I'm worried about the safety of your baby."
Your mother may have been molested herself, or she may simply have touched you out of some warped sense of power. She should never be alone with any child who is too small to fight her off. Please discuss this with a trusted teacher or counselor at school, so you can receive professional counseling regarding your multiple molestations. You have my sympathy.
DEAR ABBY: My husband of 10 years recently left me for another woman. My mother-in-law e-mailed me today telling me to return all of the gifts given to us for anniversaries and Christmas for the past 10 years. I am hurt beyond words.
What would be the best way to respond to her e-mails? -- STEWING IN SEATTLE
DEAR STEWING: There are times when silence speaks volumes. The strongest message you could send this woman would be to ignore her outrageous e-mail.
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 $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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