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Dear Abby 4/7

Husband's suicide is touchy subject for unfaithful mom

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Posted: April 6, 2007 3:36 p.m.
Updated: April 21, 2007 5:00 a.m.
DEAR ABBY: I am a middle-aged woman, currently married to a wonderful man I'll call Ron. I was married once before to a man I'll call Hank, with whom I had two daughters. When my daughters were little, I grew restless and had several affairs. I fell in love with one of the men — Ron.
    When Hank discovered my infidelity, he committed suicide. About a year and a half later, Ron and I married.
    My eldest daughter is now 15, and she has asked me the reason for her father's suicide. I want my daughter and I to have an honest relationship. Should I tell her? -- UNFAITHFUL IN MICHIGAN
    DEAR UNFAITHFUL: People in their right minds do not kill themselves because a spouse is unfaithful. Apparently your former husband had other issues, including depression. I recommend that you tell your daughter that her father committed suicide because he battled depression and lost. From my perspective, it's the truth.
    DEAR ABBY: I am a 23-year-old woman who still lives at home with my mother. Daddy died when I was 13. She and I have been extremely close ever since. We have had our disagreements with each other, but all in all, I've been there for her. She has done so much over the years for me.
    However, because I am now an adult, I feel it's time for me to move out and get my own place. When I told Mom how I felt, she became furious. She has always pushed in my face that she couldn't wait until I move out. Now that I'm actually doing it, she is threatening that if I go I can't come back — ever. I can't wash laundry at her house, and I can't come to visit.
    My two sisters and my brother moved out, and moved back at one point. They also did their laundry here and slept over when needed. I don't understand why she's acting this way toward me.
    Now Mom is screaming and complaining about every little thing to the point that I'm considering seeing a shrink to handle it. Can you help me cope with the stress my mother is handing me? -- STUNNED IN PHILADELPHIA
    DEAR STUNNED: You are your mother's baby — the last fledgling to leave the nest. I'm sure you have been the center of her life for a long time, ever since the death of your father. When you go, your mother will have to do some serious thinking about the way she has lived her life, and the direction she plans to take for the rest of it. She may be threatening you because SHE feels threatened by the fact that you're leaving.
    The best advice I can offer is that you tell her how much you love her and how grateful you are to have her in your life, but that in order for you to grow, you have to separate from her for a while.
    P.S. Your idea of a "shrink" is an excellent one. I recommend that you AND your mother see a licensed therapist for family counseling to ease the transition.

    DEAR ABBY: Every time my husband does the dishes I see red. I was taught to do the glasses first and the silverware next because they touch your mouth. My husband does the plates and bowls first, then the glasses and silverware. What is the proper way to do dishes?
    Also, when I vacuum, he always tells me I should dust first, then vacuum. I vacuum, then dust. Should he be doing the housework or should I? -- TERRI IN JOHNSTOWN, PA.
    DEAR TERRI: You should be doing the dishes, and he should be doing the dusting and vacuuming. And you both should be saving for an automatic dishwasher.
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