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by Abigail Van Buren

Dejected Wife Struggles To

DEAR ABBY: After 25 years, I have finally admitted to myself that I'm married to a workaholic, alcoholic womanizer. I have devoted my entire adult life, my time, effort and energy to my family. Now I feel used, abused and disrespected. I'm grateful to be a member of Al-Anon. It has helped me to understand that I cannot change anyone but me.

I have raised three great, successful grown kids. I have yet to make a decision for myself. I married for life. Must I continue to suffer in silence? Or do I hope that there is love, kindness and respect out there to be had? -- STALLING IN IOWA

DEAR STALLING: Let me remind you what you've already learned in Al-Anon: You cannot change anyone but yourself. The same is true of your circumstances.

You are entitled to receive the same love and respect that you offer to others. I cannot guarantee that you'll find love. Because your workaholic, alcoholic, womanizing husband hasn't changed in a quarter of a century, it's obvious he has no intention of doing so.

You don't need to find another man in order to be happier than you are now. Being alone could give you peace, contentment and happiness. The question you need to answer honestly for yourself is whether you would be happier without your husband's negative influence in your life.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce