DEAR ABBY: I have been married 18 years. In that time my husband has been unfaithful twice. Last week I was going through his cellphone and noticed from his emails that he had registered on a dating service and was exchanging photos with four women. I threw him out of the house.
What really upsets me is my 17-year-old son knew about the affairs and thinks it's perfectly normal for his dad to have female "friends" while we were still living together. I don't like what my soon-to-be-ex did to me, and I don't want my son thinking it's OK to start looking while you're still married.
My son finds ways to excuse his father's behavior. How can I make him understand that looking for other partners while you're married is being unfaithful? -- TEXAS WIFE WHO'S HAD IT
DEAR HAD IT: That may not be easy. Your husband, by making your son his co-conspirator ("It'll just be between us guys"), has made him a member of the "boys club" and cliqued you out. Has your son not seen how painful this has been for you? Your almost ex-husband is a terrible role model. When your son follows in Dad's footsteps -- and there is every reason to believe he will -- he will never have a successful marriage of his own.
DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend and I have been dating for four years. In the beginning, we'd split our visits between her house and mine because we live 100 miles apart.
Two years ago she stopped wanting me to come to her house. She'd say it was dirty or that she didn't want anyone there. When we plan to have me go there, the day arrives and she says she wants to break up with me because I insist on visiting her. Over the past year and a half, I have been to her place only three times. She hemmed and hawed but finally allowed it.
She claims there's no reason she's acting this way, that I'm crazy and people are putting ideas in my head. I tell her it's her behavior that makes me think she's hiding something. What should I do? -- SUSPICIOUS IN BUFFALO
DEAR SUSPICIOUS: Something strange is going on. A drastic change in someone's behavior is legitimate cause for concern. Clearly your girlfriend has a secret. She may be seeing someone or there's something else she doesn't want you to see. You are overdue in getting to the bottom of it, so stop allowing her to put you on the defensive, even if it means ending the relationship.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I received a wedding gift in the form of a donation to a religious organization in honor of our nuptials. I am strongly opposed to this organization because it excludes women from its primary mission due to beliefs I do not share. Having found this gesture to be offensive, how do I acknowledge this "gift"? -- NOT IN MY NAME
DEAR NOT IN MY NAME: What a peculiar gift for a wedding. Usually couples receive an item for which they registered, or something they can use or enjoy together. It appears that rather than give you a gift, your guest gave himself/herself a tax deduction.
For the sake of good manners, write the person a short note saying, "Thank you for sharing our special day with us."
DEAR ABBY: My husband is 70 and I'm 68. We have been married for two years. His previous wife was 22 years younger than him, and he seems to delight in bringing the age thing up. I feel so old and insecure. Have you any words of wisdom to offer me? -- THE OLD LADY
DEAR LADY: Two can play your husband's game. The next time he mentions it, tell him the reason she's his "ex" is that he was too old for her -- which is why this time he wised up and picked on somebody "his own size."
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)