DEAR ABBY: My husband of three years, "Earl," is an ordained Baptist minister. He will turn 60 this year. He's a diabetic who lives in a fantasy world. We have never slept together; we sleep in separate bedrooms.
Earl is good-looking and women love him. He flirts with waitresses and leaves them big tips from the money I work hard for. He has his own Web site and often comes across singers who want him to promote their music. He has had several love affairs over the Internet.
On our first anniversary, I found out he didn't tell a certain soprano he was married, and she had fallen in love with him. She hit the C above high C when I called to let her know WE had received her sexy pictures. She said Earl had asked her to marry him.
The most recent singer started calling him "Honey" and "Darling," and he was calling her "Sweetheart." She knew he was married. I don't know what lies he told her to make her believe he's available.
I would kick him out and divorce him, but he would die. I have to take care of Earl because his diabetes is so bad he can't walk. I am a nurse. I work away from home 14 days out of the month, 24-hour shifts. I love him, and it breaks my heart when he calls other women "Sweetheart." How can I break him of having these e-mail lovers?
Everything we own was mine before we married. All he had was an old pickup truck and his music. Why can't he appreciate me instead of using me? He says what does it hurt for him to have these affairs? He'll never meet them.
Please tell me what to do. He's committing fraud. And please warn Christian women not to believe every Christian man they meet on the Internet. Tell them to protect their hearts. -- MAXINE FROM TEXAS
DEAR MAXINE: You should heed your own advice, because it appears you and your husband are BOTH living in a fantasy world. He's no Christian, and he should not be operating under the mantle of any church. This man is using you because you allow it. He doesn't appreciate you because he has not, for one moment, thought beyond his own desires -- not with you or any of the women he has led on.
I can't change him and neither can you. You can, however, stop allowing him to take advantage of you. My advice is to get him out of your house and out of your life. If he can survive without you for 14 days out of the month, he won't die. He will find another gullible, good-hearted person to take over where you have left off.
CONFIDENTIAL TO MY READERS: The FDA has asked me to remind you that pet turtles may be harmful to your children's health. Small turtles are a source of a disease called "salmonellosis" in humans. It's caused by salmonella bacteria, which occur naturally in turtles.
Symptoms may include diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever and headache. Symptoms usually begin six to 72 hours after exposure, and generally last two to seven days.
Anyone can get salmonella infection, but the risk is highest in infants and young children, the elderly, and people with lowered natural resistance to disease due to pregnancy, cancer, chemotherapy, organ transplants, diabetes and liver problems.
Readers, if you or your children come into contact with, or handle turtles, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Sales of turtles with shells less than 4 inches in length have been banned in the United States since 1975 because of the public health impact of turtle-associated salmonellosis.
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