Dear Abby: Just as marriage is losing its spark, an old flame returns

Woman can’t stop thinking about this man from her past but doesn’t want to hurt her husband of six years.

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DEAR ABBY: I have been married to a wonderful man for six years, and we’ve been together for 10. We bought a house a few years ago, and since then our sex life has significantly decreased. I know the stress of being homeowners hasn’t helped our situation, and over the last year I have felt like I’m falling out of love.

A few weeks ago, I ran into a man I dated before my husband, and there was a spark between us that neither of us can deny. He broke my heart years ago, but I can’t shake this feeling of wanting — needing — to be with him. I can’t get him off my mind.

I hate the idea of breaking my husband’s heart, but I also don’t want to lose the chance to see what could be with my old flame. How can I come out of this on top? I’m terrified that I may have signed on to spend my life with someone who isn’t my soul mate. — AT A CROSSROADS IN N.C.

DEAR CROSSROADS: May I introduce a dose of sobriety? The man who broke your heart years ago is capable of doing it again.

After 10 years have passed, the chances are he, too, is married. If you pursue this, there will be collateral damage. No one, including you, will come out “on top” because someone always pays the price. You and your husband need to figure out why things changed after you bought that house and deal with it. If you do, it may improve your marriage.

DEAR ABBY: My grandfather has been put on a pedestal as the pillar of our family. Everyone except me adores him. I can barely stomach him. He’s a racist and a sexist, and he abused my grandmother to her dying day. He now abuses his current wife. He has made her cry many times, but she still continues to cater to and worship him.

Whenever I bring up his issues, family members say it doesn’t matter, and he deserves respect no matter how he acts. When I’m around him, I remain polite and respectful. However, I feel no love for him and have no desire to spend more time with him than I absolutely have to. Am I a terrible person? — UNCERTAIN IN THE SOUTH

DEAR UNCERTAIN: Not at all. You are simply someone who has a lower tolerance for racism, sexism and people who abuse others than the rest of your family.

DEAR ABBY: I understand that a person should stay home when he or she is sick in order to avoid spreading the illness to others. However, if you have plans with a friend, and your brother or sister has the flu but you have NOT gotten sick yet, is it your responsibility to warn your friend that you have been exposed? Should you cancel plans? I mean, what’s the considerate thing to do in this situation? — CAREFUL IN WASHINGTON

DEAR CAREFUL: In a case like this, full disclosure is imperative. If you know you have been exposed to a contagious illness and may be carrying the bug, the considerate thing to do would be to tell your friend so the person has the choice of whether to opt out.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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