DEAR ABBY: I am very troubled. When I married my second husband, "Fred," he told me he was a virgin, and passed himself off as caring toward women. Then, after our marriage, he mentioned that he used to frequent strip joints. I was upset about it because I'm a feminist, and I feel that visiting strip joints is disrespectful to women.
Two days before I went into labor to deliver our son, Fred told me that out of the five women he had slept with, he ranked me about third. After all, I'm 10 years older than Fred, and I'll never be as physically attractive as a prostitute. Then he said that emotionally he was more attracted to his high school sweetheart.
Abby, this is my second marriage and my third child. My chances of finding romance again are getting slimmer and slimmer.
I'm not ugly; I'm tall, slender and fairly attractive. I can't understand why someone who claims to love me would tell me that I rank lower than a prostitute. I was crushed. It made me feel very undesirable.
I told Fred if he wanted a younger woman, I'd leave and take the baby so he could start over again. He said no, he wanted me.
I find it degrading to live with a man who has been with prostitutes. He could have given me a disease. Am I the only woman who finds men who frequent prostitutes revolting? I can't see myself spending the rest of my life with a man like Fred.
However, he's going to college at my insistence. He says he has changed, and he'll volunteer some time in a women's crisis center to make amends.
Abby, should I stay with Fred or write him off as a bad mistake? -- DEVASTATED IN RENTON, WASH.
DEAR DEVASTATED: If Fred were sincere about making amends, he would offer to join you in marriage counseling instead of putting himself in a position to "help" troubled and vulnerable women in crisis.
Fear that your chances of finding another mate are slim is a poor reason for remaining in an abusive relationship. If I were you, I'd write Fred off as a bad mistake. And since he has told you that he has slept with prostitutes, I urge you to be tested for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.