DEAR ABBY: I'm a 36-year-old woman who is in a loveless marriage. We do not spend time together, nor do we have sex. For the past four years I have had an on-again, off-again affair with a guy from my church. He's 10 years younger and everything I have ever wanted.
My No. 1 problem is that I know adultery is wrong and goes against everything I have ever believed in. I always tell myself that this is the last time, but when he wants to meet again I don't have the strength to say no. (We have everything going for us in the physical department, but I know we'd never have a lasting relationship.)
I'm not writing to ask if what I'm doing is wrong because I know it is. I'm writing because I need your help/advice on how to say no when you are in love with the person, but don't want them to know!
My lover lost his virginity to me, and I'm having trouble understanding why he still wants to be with me after all of this time. Is it because I'm just easy and he knows he can have sex with no commitment, or does he actually care about me but knows he can't have me all to himself? I am ashamed about my behavior and looking for a way to ... JUST SAY NO
DEAR JUST SAY NO: You may be attracted to your lover because you are essentially alone in your marriage. There is a solution for your problems, but it won't be pleasant. Tell your husband what has been going on and why, and end the marriage, which appears to have been over for a long time.
Once the smoke clears, ask your lover the questions about his intentions that you mentioned to me, and then decide whether to continue seeing him. He may be in love with you, but if he is, the question of whether you love him or whether he's just a convenience remains. Of this I am certain: You are not his sex slave -- and when you think you have a better option, you WILL find the way to "just say no."
DEAR ABBY: I work at a large suburban hospital, and there's an issue that needs to be addressed. Patients walk around with their butts exposed! Patients are always given a second gown to use as a robe, but many of them decide not to use it.
Abby, these are all alert, oriented people. In addition to staff, there are visitors (including children) and other patients walking in the halls.
When someone runs up behind them to give them the second gown, these are some of the responses we are given: "Let 'em look!" (No one wants to.) "There's nothing to look at." (Yes, there is, and no one wants to.) "I've got nothing anyone wants to see." (Then why are you showing it off?) "No one cares about my butt." (That's right, and no one wants to see it.) "I'm not modest." (We're grossed out.) "This is a hospital; why does it matter?" (So, everyone should just walk around naked?)
How do you think we should address this? -- NO BUTTS, PLEASE
DEAR NO BUTTS: "Address" it by informing patients that wearing both gowns is a hospital rule. That would be a start. If you are asked why, tell the person that it's to prevent visitors and other patients from being offended by the sight of someone's uncovered "gluteus maximi." And if anyone gives you an argument, tell the person that's the way it is -- no ifs, ands or buts.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)