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by Abigail Van Buren

Couple Trading Affronts Put Their Marriage on the Line

DEAR ABBY: Several months ago I made a terrible mistake and e-mailed "Tom" -- a friend I had a crush on -- some topless pictures of myself. Tom rejected me because he is happily married. I am married, too, and when my husband, "Jake," discovered the pictures on our computer and realized what I had done, we discussed it and agreed to put them aside and never talk about them again.

Because Tom and I are friends and he was doing some repair work on our home, I have spoken to him on my cell phone numerous times. When Jake saw the phone records and realized I was still talking to Tom, he posted my pictures on an Internet porn site for all the world to see and blamed Tom so I wouldn't speak to him anymore.

Abby, Jake never told me I couldn't speak to Tom. That he made me believe that Tom was the bad guy is upsetting, even though I was wrong in the first place for sending my pictures to him. Do two wrongs make a right? I'm so upset by what Jake did that I don't want him to touch me. In fact, I want a divorce. I don't know what to do. Please help me. -- LINDA IN TEXAS

DEAR LINDA: Your husband was willing to forgive and forget the fact that you were trying to start an affair by sending the photos to Tom. When you "discussed it and agreed never to talk about them again," he took for granted that you would end the "friendship." And you should have. Your actions weren't platonic and were a threat to your own marriage. When your husband realized that the flirtation was ongoing, he punished you in a cruel way.

Two wrongs do NOT make a right. And my advice to you and Jake is to sit down with a marriage counselor, figure out where your relationship went off track and decide, calmly, whether your marriage is worth saving.