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by Abigail Van Buren

Sympathy Is Wearing Thin for Needy, Demanding Friend

DEAR ABBY: I was shocked the other day when a friend of mine said that many women remain in terrible marriages because of finances. She said those types of marriages are accepted worldwide, so why not in America? She also said she thinks that shame is attached if a woman admits the only reason she is staying with her husband is a monetary one.

The women she was talking about are baby boomers and older. After thinking about it, I remember my mother and mother-in-law saying that money was why they remained in their marriages. Is this as prevalent as my friend stated? I find it sad that this could be true. It reminds me of the Tina Turner song -- what's love got to do with it? Could you comment, please? -- IN IT FOR LOVE

DEAR IN IT: If you're asking if I have statistics on the number of women who stay married only for economic reasons, the answer is no. Most of the people who write to me are unhappy, which would skew the numbers in a negative direction.

I hope you realize that the women you have described -- an older demographic -- were probably not economically independent when they married. It was common in their generation to go straight from their parents' houses to their husbands'. For many years I -- and my mother before me -- have urged women to make sure they are self-supporting before they marry, "just in case" they may have to be afterward.

Staying in a marriage without love is like serving a life sentence with an incompatible cellmate. Your mother and mother-in-law have my sympathy, and so do their husbands.