DEAR ABBY: Four years ago, after three years of marriage, I had a brief affair and was caught by my husband, who is a doctor. We had little girls, so he decided not to divorce me, but I had to cut my long hair short in a man's style and stop wearing makeup or jewelry except for my wedding ring. He donated all my designer clothes, and bought me men's clothes. I have begged him to let me wear women's clothes again and allow me to wear even a short woman's hairstyle, but he refuses.
Our two daughters are old enough now to notice, and they are a little embarrassed by how Mommy dresses. I no longer have any desire for an affair, but simply want to look attractive. I was a beauty queen in college, but now even my female friends think dressing like this is my idea. Sometimes I feel so embarrassed in public that I want to hide. What do you suggest I try to get him to let me wear my hair long and women's clothes again? -- WANTS TO BE ME AGAIN
DEAR WANTS TO BE YOU: I hope you are aware that what your husband has been doing is considered emotional abuse. What you did was wrong, but you should not have to spend the rest of your life looking like a man if you don't want to.
To say that your husband is controlling would be an understatement. Because you need more help than anyone can give you in a letter, I'm urging you to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The website is thehotline.org; the toll-free phone number is 800-799-7233. Please don't put this off.
DEAR ABBY: I am 64 and still a virgin. I now feel I haven't done all the things I wanted to do with my life, and I realize I won't live forever. When I see young kids having fun, I regret wasting my younger years.
The biggest issue I have is with being a virgin. I have always believed in true love, but I still haven't met anyone. I have been going to bars and have multiple accounts on dating websites, but no men close to my age have been interested.
A young man who is 39 has asked to meet up. Should I go on a date with him and see what happens? I know it's wrong, but I think maybe with a younger guy I could do all the things I wanted to do. What should I do? Please help. -- PRUDENCE THE VIRGIN
DEAR PRUDENCE: Think carefully about what it is you really want. If you go on that date, the chances are that you will succeed in losing your virginity. But don't count on anything more than that happening.
I'm unclear about what you mean by "doing all the things you wanted to do," but true love takes time and commitment to develop, and rushing to catch up on all the things you think you have missed is no guarantee you will find it.
DEAR ABBY: I'm new in the business world and I have a question. At networking events, how do I politely excuse myself from a conversation when I encounter a "Stage 1" clinger? -- TRAPPED AGAIN IN TORONTO
DEAR TRAPPED AGAIN: Because at networking events it's important to make as many contacts as possible, you should say, "It's been nice meeting you, but please excuse me because I have to circulate, and so should you."
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