Dear Abby: I love my husband of 25 years — and someone else, too

As her unfaithful mate ignores her, woman pines for the man she cheated with years ago.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 25 years. He has recently started running around with his buddies and partying. He hardly has time for me anymore. I found out he had cheated on me, not once but several times, with different women. I was devastated, so I left for a while, but I decided to try to work things out.

During the time I was gone, I ended up cheating as well. I’m sorry for it, but I developed some very real feelings for someone. I haven’t seen him in two years, but I still feel myself wanting him and wanting to be with him. I love my husband, and we are working things out, but I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m in love with both of them. I still talk to the other person via text, but we don’t go any further. — DISTRESSED IN OHIO

DEAR DISTRESSED: You may BE in love with both of them, but you made a commitment to work things out with your husband. If you are sincere about it, you will have to disengage fully from the man you cheated with and concentrate on your marriage. If you are not sure you can do that, marital counseling may help you decide what your next step should be. But a word of warning: The grass is not always greener once you have jumped the fence.

DEAR ABBY: I was at a bar a few weekends ago and met a handsome stranger who seemed slightly familiar. His name sounded like I had heard it before. We talked for hours, and it felt like we had known each other forever. He walked me back to my apartment, and we shared a kiss on my doorstep.

The next morning, I made a horrifying discovery: He’s my second cousin! We hadn’t seen each other in more than 20 years. When I gave him the news, he told me he still wanted to try for a relationship. I’m confused about what to do and how to feel. Please help. — KISSING COUSIN IN MAINE

DEAR COUSIN: Marriage between second cousins is legal in every state. If you like this man, and it appears you do, let the relationship play out and see where it leads. If you are worried about possible genetic complications, they should be discussed with your physician (and his). Genetic testing should put your concerns to rest.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been with my boyfriend for four years. He talks about marrying me and has even given me an “engagement” ring. The problem is, whenever I ask him about setting a wedding date, he seems annoyed, like I’m trying to pressure him into marrying me. He gave me the ring almost three years ago. Should I end this relationship if we can’t get on the same page? — ENGAGED IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR ENGAGED: You need to get to the bottom of why he is reluctant. If he’s worried about the expense or uncomfortable about the hoopla of a big wedding, you could agree to have a small courthouse ceremony. However, unless your boyfriend (notice I didn’t use the word “fiance”) can come up with a solid reason for not being ready to follow through on his marriage proposal, ending the engagement is exactly what you should do, because the ring you’re wearing is nothing more than a “promise” ring.

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.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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