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by Abigail Van Buren

Struggling Mom Suspects It's Time to Let Man Go

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I both work two jobs, and we have raised three wonderful children. Over the years we have watched our friends build bigger and bigger homes, drive fancy cars and take extended trips to exotic locations while my husband and I work paycheck to paycheck.

What bothers me is that many of my girlfriends were "gold diggers" who stole wealthy men from other women, and some of the men seem to make money by doing illegal things. They're all living high on the hog while I dodge bill collectors.

I thought I was making good decisions and being morally responsible, but apparently the "nice guy/nice gal comes in last." When do these people get what's coming to them, and when do I get a break? -- NICE GAL IN OHIO

DEAR NICE GAL: How about starting right now? Start by shedding those people from your life whom you find morally reprehensible and look for some whose values more closely resemble your own. And instead of obsessing about others "getting what's coming to them," concentrate on improving your own life.

If you're dodging bill collectors, find a credit counseling agency to help you deal with them. It won't happen overnight, but things will improve as you get your financial life in order. Find a credit counseling agency that is approved by your Better Business Bureau or affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies.