DEAR ABBY: I have been with my husband for 12 years, married for three. I had an affair a little over a year ago that he found out about. He has let me back into the house, but he demeans my character at every opportunity. I don't fight back because I know I am the cause of his pain.
We have a 3-year-old daughter, and I am now six weeks pregnant with his child. I do not want to argue with him, because if I had been a better wife, he would not be so angry. But the hurt I feel from his words over the past months is weighing heavy on me, especially with my new hormones. I'm holding it in, but should I leave? Become a single mother? How can I get him to a counselor? -- NEEDS COUNSELING
DEAR NEEDS: I do not mean to minimize your infidelity, but you had better take a stand and give your husband an ultimatum: Heal the marriage through marriage counseling, or you leave. Be prepared to follow through, because without professional intervention nothing will change. The situation you describe is unhealthy not only for you and your unborn child, but also for your little girl. Your daughter should not be raised to think that this toxic environment is normal.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a lesbian and have been in a relationship with a woman for two months now. She never offers to pay for our dates, and she hasn't planned or executed one, either. We're both very feminine, although she would be considered slightly more so than I am. I feel this is important because I'm somehow the more dominant one. How can I address this concern without hurting her? I would like her to reciprocate somewhat. -- DOMINANT IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR DOMINANT: Address the imbalance in your relationship by being straightforward about it. Good manners dictate that when someone has been asked out, treated, etc., that person should reciprocate. Because that's not happening, you need to discuss it with her. To do so isn't hurtful; it's common sense, because unless you do, this pattern will continue.
DEAR ABBY: I have been with the same man for six months. He has been separated from his wife for 10 years -- but not legally. When he finally decided to tell her there is someone else and he's moving on, she went crazy. She said she wants alimony and half of everything, plus the house will have to be sold because she will not allow "the new woman" to live in "her" house.
It's been a month since he told her. We talked to a lawyer about a divorce, but all he is worried about is paying alimony and losing the house. I am getting sick of hearing about it. All he keeps saying is, "I love you, but I don't want to lose my house or pay her money." What should I do? -- FIGHT OR FLIGHT IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR FIGHT OR FLIGHT: Your boyfriend appears to be unwilling to pay the price for a divorce. So what you should do is flee. The longer you stick around, the deeper you will become enmeshed in his drama, and the more complicated it will become.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)