DEAR ABBY: How can I forget and forgive my husband for his actions? It has been only a few months since I found out about his affairs -- which lasted over four months with three different women. One was more intense than the others. He says he has broken off all contact with them and is only with me now.
When I learned about the affairs, I had no information other than he was having one. Someone I didn't know told me, so I did not have much to go on. I have asked my husband some questions, but he refuses to answer them. He says I should let it go and move on, that my questions will lead to no good, and if I don't stop I'm going to push him away.
I think about what he has done and different scenarios daily and try to ignore the hurt, but it's hard. Should I ask questions, should he answer them, and will this pain ever go away? We are "trying," and I'm running mostly on love and the hope that our relationship will survive. -- IN PAIN IN PITTSBURGH
DEAR IN PAIN: Of course you should be asking questions because you have the right to know the answers. And if your husband is truly repentant, he should answer them. Your pain will persist unless you both have counseling to understand what triggered his four-month "fling." If he refuses to go, go without him.
Frankly, I am troubled by your statement that your husband is threatening you'll push him away if you pursue the answers you deserve. That doesn't appear to me to be the behavior of a contrite spouse.
�If you haven't already done so, see your physician and be tested for STDs. All of the emotions you're experiencing are normal, but whether your relationship will survive under the present circumstances is debatable.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a married woman in my 40s, raising a family. I work full-time doing a physical job outdoors and after work I'm often worn out.
My hobby is art. I have drawn and painted since I was very young. My problem is, I'm afraid to say no when relatives ask me to do arts and crafts for them. They even volunteer me to do projects for their friends. If money is offered, I usually turn it down.
The issue is the time involved. I'm stressed out. I drop everything when I get these requests, and I'm starting to feel overwhelmed and annoyed. I have to do these projects before and after my regular job and on weekends. My house and family get neglected. And because I can't devote the necessary time to the projects, I'm unhappy with the result.
I have dropped hints about how I'm tired after working a full-time job, but no one seems to care. How can I tell them I need a break without upsetting them? -- BURNED-OUT PICASSO
DEAR BURNED-OUT: You need to learn to say no. For a people-pleaser this can present a challenge, but in your case it should be followed with, "I'm too busy to take that on right now." You should also rethink your refusal to accept the offer of money. If you do, it will probably result in your being asked to do projects less often -- trust me on that.
Also consider this: If you turn your hobby into a little side business and charge for your talent, it may enable you to fund projects that will give you some of the psychic gratification you're missing.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)