DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married more than 40 years, but we have lived separately in a house and guesthouse on jointly owned property for the last 10. We split bills and communicate only when necessary via text.
I am somewhat afraid of him and try to distance myself from him and his friends and family. He has been involved with multiple women and men throughout our marriage, but when I have tried to end our marriage, he has pushed me to remain.
He is currently openly involved with a woman he has “dated” for many years. Several acquaintances recently informed me that the two of them are sporting matching wedding bands. I don’t really care, but I don’t want any further humiliation. I feel like a sword is hanging over my head. What can I do? — ARRANGEMENT IN THE EAST
DEAR ARRANGEMENT: What you can do is contact an attorney. Tell the attorney exactly what you have told me — that you and your husband haven’t cohabited in a decade, that he and his longtime girlfriend are purporting to be married and wearing matching wedding bands, and that you want a divorce but are afraid of his reaction. The lawyer can guide you from there. Please don’t wait.
DEAR ABBY: I am a woman who has had genital herpes since I was in my 20s. I’m single and in my 60s now. I have always disclosed that I have it and that I treat it daily with medication that suppresses the virus. I have never infected anyone — including my former husband and boyfriends. I do not have outbreaks.
I am often rejected by the men I disclose this to. It is demeaning and painful and makes me feel dirty, which I am not. I’m tired of it. Must I continue to disclose it? I know for sure that I am not passing it on. I haven’t given it to anyone in 40-plus years. — REJECTED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR REJECTED: Tempting as it may be to fudge the truth, I think you should continue to be honest about your status. If you lie and the person you are involved with finds your medication, the relationship will be over anyway.
I don’t know if you have considered this, but have you thought about dating men who also have herpes? A website that has been mentioned in my column before is H-date.com. If you meet someone there, you know you won’t be judged. It offers a free dating service through which thousands of men and women meet. Many very nice, eligible people — people just like you — have herpes and live full, happy lives.
DEAR READERS: I want to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere — birth mothers, adoptive and foster mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren and dual-role dads. Orchids to all of you for the love you give not only today, but also each and every day. — LOVE, ABBY
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 www.DearAbby.com 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.)