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Dear Abby 10/5
Patient troubled by pain she feels over doctor's divorce
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    DEAR ABBY: It has recently come to my attention that my doctor was married for almost 20 years and divorced his wife to marry a much younger woman. I am upset over this because I feel he just threw her away after she had four children with him.
    I don't know why I feel so strongly about it, but never in my wildest dreams did I think he would do something like this. I find it hard to look him in the eye and trust his judgment about my health.
    I have a serious medical test coming up that he will be performing. I don't know what to do. I just can't stop thinking about this. I feel so bad for his wife and grown children. Please help me. I don't dare talk to anyone about this. — SHAKEN IN MAYNARD, MASS.
    DEAR SHAKEN: There could be a couple of reasons why you're obsessing about what you heard. The first may be that you identify strongly with your doctor's wife and resent the idea that she could have been traded in for a newer model. And second, you are distracting yourself with gossip about his personal life rather than focusing on the seriousness of the test you're facing.
    People's professional qualifications usually have little to do with the state of their love lives. A doctor, lawyer, veterinarian — even a politician — can be capable and effective in his (or her) job and still waver in the face of temptation. (Also, has it occurred to you that your doctor's wife may have divorced HIM because she found someone more emotionally fulfilling after the children were grown?)
    For the sake of your health, please consider being less judgmental and concentrate on your own needs and prognosis. It doesn't take a saint to read an X-ray or analyze a biopsy — it involves a different part of the brain than that which guides the impulses of the heart. If you cannot do that, then you should consult another doctor.

    DEAR ABBY: Last Christmas I received a beautiful, yet inappropriate, gift from a relative by marriage. He gave me a curved diamond pendant. I don't know if it's real or if it's cubic zirconium. Either way, this type of pendant starts at around $99.
    I do not have the same feelings for him that he does for me. Also, I don't think he knows me well enough to assume that this would be an appropriate gift. If he did know me, he would have known that it would make me uncomfortable.
    I haven't spoken to him in person since Christmas, although he sometimes e-mails me. So maybe he has gotten the hint. The pendant is currently sitting in the box it came in and is in my desk drawer. I'm not sure if I should return it, keep it or sell it. — OFFENDED IN WILDER, IDAHO
    DEAR OFFENDED: I am having difficulty understanding why a gift so generous would be offensive. Clearly this relative (by marriage) wanted you to have something beautiful. The time to have returned the gift would have been immediately after you received it, with a note saying that you appreciated his generosity but could not accept it because you could not reciprocate in a similar fashion.
    Because you obviously do not have warm feelings for this person, either give the item away or sell it. It is doing no one any good sitting in a drawer because of its unpleasant associations.
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