DEAR ABBY: My husband of 16 years has been airing our dirty laundry to anyone who will listen, including my 35-year-old son. We live in a small town and have lots of ties here. People who were once quick to come up and say hi no longer do so. In fact, most are avoiding me by heading in the opposite direction in the stores or in parking lots.
I have asked my husband to keep our business between us and not discuss our personal lives with others, but he continues to do it anyway. His mother is the go-to for him and she has now canceled our Saturday outings. I'm so disgusted by all of this that I want to end the marriage.
The home we live in is mine -- I paid in full for it before I met him, and it is all I have. I have asked him to leave, but he refuses, saying he's going to "take me for everything and more." Should I hire an attorney at the risk of possibly making things worse, or wait until things calm down? -- AFRAID AND CONFUSED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR AFRAID: Do not wait for things to "calm down." In light of what your husband has threatened, it is extremely important that you start talking to lawyers about what's going on and how to protect yourself. Talk to several because you can gain a wider perspective. While you may not be able to salvage your reputation in that community because of what your husband has been spreading, you will be able to prevent him from fleecing you. Please accept my sympathy.