DEAR ABBY: I need your advice. In 1995, I married a wonderful man who has been an excellent father to my three sons. I love him with all my heart.
For the past few months, I've been accusing him of cheating on me. He leaves for work early, has been taking showers, shaving and dressing nicely to go to work in a factory. In the past, he hasn't worried about his looks so much.
Every time I say something like, "Lookin' good for her, huh?" he gets mad. He insists he's not fooling around and never would. I have a hard time believing him.
He says I'm pushing him away by accusing him of cheating, but I can't help it. I'm so scared that I'm giving this man my heart and soul, and I'm afraid of the power he holds in his hands to break me.
My self-esteem is on the low side. I've gained some weight and am feeling old. Our sex life is so-so. I'm not very satisfied, and I have been open and direct about telling him what I like. He acts like he doesn't hear me, which also makes me believe he has someone else.
I've never loved any other man like this and would be devastated if there is another woman. Is it me? Please tell me how to get help for this insecurity. -- MISERABLE IN INDIANA
DEAR MISERABLE: Please don't let your insecurities ruin a good marriage. Believe your husband when he says you are pushing him away by accusing him of adultery. For me to doubt his truthfulness, you would have to produce more convincing evidence of "misconduct" than his going to work early, showering and dressing presentably, being a good stepfather to your sons and bringing home a regular paycheck.
You can improve your self-esteem by having a medical checkup and getting back into shape. Joint counseling could help you deal with your irrational jealousy and perhaps improve your sex lives. Get going.