DEAR ABBY: I am an attractive woman who has been married for 30 years. I think my husband has been cheating on me for most of them. Through the years I have seen the telltale signs and confronted him many times. But he continually tells me no, he would never do anything.
I have tried hard to stay with him, although I feel stupid for doing it. You see, my parents were married for 62 years, and I have two sisters and three brothers who have never been divorced or separated. So I'd feel like a failure if I left him.
I need to know for sure whether he has cheated, but I don't know how to prove it. I have found a letter in his wallet, notes slid under my door at work and actually saw him touch another woman in a sexual manner years ago. My friends say if it walks and quacks, it is a duck.
I have asked him many times to go to counseling and he always says he will, but we never do. I no longer want to continue living with this man. There has got to be something better than always waiting for the next bomb to drop. Advice? -- SUSPICIOUS IN THE SOUTH
DEAR SUSPICIOUS: Because your husband avoids going to counseling doesn't mean that you shouldn't see a licensed therapist without him. If you do, it will help you to clarify your thinking and make a rational decision about your future. Your siblings' marital history should not influence your decision. What's important is doing what is right for yourself.
If you feel you need to have proof that your husband is being or has been unfaithful, and has lied to you all these years, then hire a private detective and you will probably get what you are looking for. You have my sympathy.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 13, and I have had a few problems with my boyfriend's family. I got him in trouble a few times, and I feel really bad about it, even though I'm not a bad person. We have talked about things we shouldn't have talked about at our age and used bad language. His parents have gotten on him about it.
I tried to talk to his mother, but I have the feeling they don't particularly like me even though she says she has nothing against me. I know my boyfriend's older sister doesn't like me and doesn't want me and her brother to be together.
We are now being forced to break up until he is respectful enough to have a girlfriend, even though he is very respectful. I feel like this all revolves around me, and I want to get his family to know the real me and give me another chance. What should I do? -- FORCED TO BREAK UP IN MISSISSIPPI
DEAR FORCED TO BREAK UP: Thirteen is young for a serious romance, and your boyfriend's family may be worried that you are trying to rush him into a relationship for which he isn't ready. For now, the smart move would be to put some distance between you and your boyfriend.
If you stand any chance of improving your standing with his mother and sister, a step in the right direction would be to clean up your bad language. Another would be to concentrate your efforts on becoming someone they can respect -- a good student, active in a youth group or sports activity. If they can see a positive change in you, they may be more receptive to your being in his life. And if they don't, your time won't have been wasted because you will have become a more successful person.