DEAR ABBY: I'm responding to your request for comments about the letter from "Happily Single" (Feb. 13) and whether a divorce would be the first course of action upon winning the lottery. In a community-property state, a divorce after winning wouldn't legally protect you from having to share the spoils with your soon-to-be (and probably now bitter) ex-spouse.
My husband and I have talked at length about what we'd do if either of us won the Powerball jackpots, and no, divorce was not on the list. We'd start by consulting a lawyer/financial planner to find a way to protect our privacy before claiming the money.
I suspect the comments from "Happily's" co-workers are evidence that unhappily marrieds group together -- or enjoy complaining about their spouses. Either way, it's sad. Studies show that complaining about a spouse significantly decreases one's satisfaction in a relationship. While we all "vent" from time to time, if talking divorce is your first response to a jackpot win, then you're in the wrong relationship. -- IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL
DEAR IN IT: I hit the jackpot with the huge response I received about that letter. And the majority of readers said they would not divorce:
DEAR ABBY: I am a lottery winner, and I feel blessed and proud that I can take care of my wife the way she deserves. Within two minutes of my win I was on the phone with her, telling her to quit her stressful job. We now have a wonderful life, with more than we ever hoped for. -- SATISFIED IN THE SUNSHINE STATE
DEAR ABBY: I'm single, but that letter didn't surprise me. I think a lot of people feel they must be married by a certain age, so they end up "settling." Read some of the crazy lottery winner stories posted online, and you'll see people trade in their spouses because they feel they can do better or "move up," kind of like buying a bigger, better house. I'm not saying it's right, but it happens. -- CINDY IN ARLINGTON, VA.
DEAR ABBY: If I won the lottery, the first thing I'd do is get married. We're waiting so we can afford the nice wedding we both want. -- STEPHANIE IN SAUGUS, CALIF.
DEAR ABBY: The first thing I'd do if I won is pay off all my debts. I'm already divorced. -- DIANA IN TEXAS CITY, TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: I wouldn't consider getting divorced if I won, but I might finally buy that second husband I've been wanting but can't afford. -- TACOMA READER
DEAR ABBY: I've been married for 40 years. If I won I would not divorce. There's no way I'd want to give him half the money. I would stay married so I could have control over the money he spent. It would make up for all the years that he would pinch my pennies and make me squeeze a nickel till the buffalo pooped. -- WISHFUL IN OHIO
DEAR ABBY: If I were to win the lottery, I would trade all of it just to have one more hug and one more night talking with my wife, who died 16 years ago. Our children were young when she died, and I have tried my best to raise them to be good adults. But my heart still aches over losing her to cancer. I believe all widows and widowers would agree with me on this. -- TRENT IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR ABBY: "When" we win, my husband and I plan on going into a self-made "witness protection program" to hide from the long-lost relatives. But we will absolutely do it together. -- HOPING IN GEORGIA