DEAR ABBY: I am 27, and my wife, "Marybeth," is 26. We recently went to my folks' house for supper. That evening a heavy snowstorm was starting and, because the trip home is 30 miles, we decided to stay overnight.
My old bedroom is upstairs, as are the rooms of my brothers, ages 25, 24 and 22. The guest room is downstairs. Because the room is quite small, and Marybeth said she felt a cold coming on, we decided I'd sleep in my old room.
The next day, while we were driving home, Marybeth told me she was glad I had come to her room after all and made love to her.
Abby, it wasn't me! She had mistaken one of my brothers for me in the darkness. We are all about the same size and build.
I have talked to each of my brothers (they all know about this), but they won't say who it was for fear of causing a rift between the guilty party and me. I told them that unless I find out who it was, there will be a permanent rift between all of us. (Marybeth still doesn't know it wasn't me.)
How do I handle this? -- ENRAGED IN ROCHESTER, N.Y.
DEAR ENRAGED: While you and your brothers may have a strong family resemblance, I find it hard to believe that you all smell, taste and make love like clones. So please do not accept as gospel that your wife didn't have an inkling that it wasn't you. As to who actually crept into her bed in your absence, if your brothers won't reveal who the guilty party is, then they're all equally guilty, and I wouldn't blame you for severing ties with them.
It's time to have a serious chat with your wife and get chapter and verse on what happened that night. Then she should be tested for STDs and treated if necessary.
It is possible for a couple to get past something like this, if you're both willing to work at it. The shortest route would be with the help of a licensed family therapist.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 19 and have a 9-month-old, "Sean." I live with his dad, "Richie," and my father-in-law, "Dick."
Dick drinks a lot and offers my baby beer. Dick also likes to tease Sean. He also leaves coins, toothpicks and cotton swabs on the floor, where Sean sometimes sleeps.
My son puts everything he can put his hands on into his mouth. Dick loafs all day and doesn't pay any of the bills. Please give me some advice. I'm so stressed out, I don't know what to do. -- STRESSED OUT, MIDLAND, TEXAS
DEAR STRESSED OUT: First, your baby should not be sleeping on the floor in these conditions. Second, offer your husband a choice. Either he insists that Dick straighten up his act, or you'll take Sean and make other living arrangements.
It's important, for your son's sake, that you draw the line NOW -- even if it means getting a job and putting your baby in day care. For "Grandpa" to give him alcohol is against the law. And if you don't put a stop to it, it could be considered child endangerment.
CONFIDENTIAL TO MY IRISH READERS: A Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all.
"May the road rise to meet you,
"May the wind be always at your back,
"May the sun shine warm upon your face,
"May the rain fall soft upon your fields,
"And, until we meet again,
"May God hold you in the palm of his hand."
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