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by Abigail Van Buren

Clash Over Money Threatens To Undermine Reconciliation

DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Cynthia," and I are a middle-aged couple who have been married four years. Shortly after our wedding, she suffered a stroke during a heart transplant. After she returned home from the hospital, a "friend" told her I was having an affair (I wasn't). Without telling me why, Cynthia threw me out of the house and returned to a distant state to be near her family. She had most of her belongings shipped there.

After I presented proof of my innocence a year later, we reconciled. The first couple of years of marriage were chaotic, and I know I wasn't perfect. But I did the best I could and stood by her throughout the medical ordeal.

Now, Cynthia is saying I should have to pay to have her items shipped back simply because I'm "the man." Abby, we have roughly the same income due to pensions. We have always kept our finances separate. I think she should pay to have her own items returned because she is the one who shipped them over there based on a lie. The money itself isn't the issue; it's the principle. I feel like this is a slap in the face. What do you think? -- MR. NICE GUY

DEAR MR. NICE GUY: You shouldn't have to pay for anything "because you're the man." You didn't cheat, and you aren't responsible for the fact that Cynthia overreacted and ran away the way she did.

You say that until now you have kept your finances separate because you each have your own incomes. My advice is to refuse to be manipulated. Your wife should pay to have her belongings returned, just as she paid to have them sent away without verifying whether the story was true.

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