DEAR ABBY: I have been happily married to my college sweetheart for 20 years. "Mark" is a great husband, a good father, and we are very compatible. He is the kind of man who brings me flowers for no reason, and who'd rather be home cooking dinner with me than almost anywhere. I know he loves me and our children.
Recently, a woman called our house, identified herself as "a friend," and told me Mark has been "playing around" all over town and she thought I should know I was married to a "pervert." She hung up before I could comment. Mark swears he is not, and never has, had an affair.
Of course, I believe the man I have known for 25 years over a complete stranger, but this has been very upsetting. I now question my decision to be a stay-at-home mom and wonder if someone may be out to get me. I have become nervous in crowds, fearful that someone is watching me or us when we're out together. Mark is trying to be there for me and says we will go to marriage counseling or whatever I need.
Abby, I am happy in my marriage. Yet I feel violated, depressed and resentful that a stranger has the power to make me question my own happiness. Can you help me? -- SAD WIFE IN NEW YORK
DEAR WIFE: The prank you have described could have been perpetrated by a high school student dialing randomly, or a disgruntled person with a grudge against your husband -- or even you -- for some imagined slight.
You feel violated because you have been. People can exercise power over us only if we allow it. You have a husband who loves you and a marriage many people would envy. I don't think you need marriage counseling. However, some sessions with a mental health professional might be helpful in putting this unpleasant incident behind you.
P.S. I assume this was a one-time thing. If the calls persist, the phone company and the police should be notified that you're being harassed.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I separated two years ago. For the past year, I have been dating one man exclusively. We have a wonderful relationship that has great potential. Never have there been two people with more in common.
There is one problem. I have no children and he has three. Two are adults -- responsible, good people. The youngest, "Erik," is 18, and he's the problem. He dropped out of school, doesn't work, refuses to even try to find a job and doesn't have a driver's license.
Erik has stolen money from me and also from his father to buy drugs and alcohol. Basically, the kid is good for nothing. He doesn't even have any friends left.
My boyfriend realizes his son's problems, but has essentially given up on him. I can't blame him. It has reached the point where I can't even stand to be around the kid. It doesn't look like he'll ever get a life and move on. Please tell me what to do. -- AT A LOSS IN NOVA SCOTIA
DEAR AT A LOSS: You and your boyfriend are overdue for a frank discussion. You could have a good relationship with this man if he agrees to insist that his son get counseling and drug treatment. Be firm and do not allow him to sidestep his son's obvious addiction. But if he refuses, you should move on.
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