DEAR ABBY: "Ralph" and I have been married two years. Two nights ago we had an argument, and he got mad and left. He was gone three hours. When he returned he screamed at me for what seemed like an hour. Finally, he went to bed.
I looked through his phone and found several text messages to his ex-wife. One said he still loves her. So I went through his e-mail and found more correspondence. When I woke Ralph up and confronted him, the first thing out of his mouth was her name.
They have an 18-year-old daughter and have been divorced for 13 years. To top it off, she's married and pregnant.
Ralph swears he doesn't know why he was texting her, that he doesn't love her and that the e-mails were about a job.
Abby, I thought we had a happy marriage. I'm crushed, and my whole world is falling apart. My husband obviously has feelings for his first wife (I'm No. 3) and is thinking about her. He swears over and over that I'm the love of his life, and he will spend the rest of his life proving it to me. Is it time to throw in the towel?
— HEARTBROKEN IN MONTANA
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: If you hadn't already smelled a rat, you wouldn't have checked his cell phone history and computer. The text messages you discovered are explicit proof that your husband isn't being honest with you.
For many wives this would be the time to cut their losses. But if you love him and are willing to risk giving him one more chance, the two of you need to consult a licensed marriage and family therapist. You have little to lose by giving it a try, and it's possible that your husband really is contrite — but keep your eyes wide open.
DEAR ABBY: I am a non-drinker. I don't like the taste of alcohol, and I prefer to remain sober.
Why is such a big deal made about alcohol and who's drinking? I attended a friend's birthday luncheon, and she apologized to the group for NOT drinking, saying she'd had enough partying the night before. Another time I went to a bar with a boyfriend to see a band perform. His friends — all of them "buzzed," by the way — asked me repeatedly why I wasn't drinking. This isn't the only time my choice to abstain has been questioned and scrutinized.
To me it makes no difference whether it's vodka or water in a glass. In a restaurant that served meat, you wouldn't question the food choices of a vegetarian, would you? Drinkers should mind their own (beverage) business. Their concern ought only to be whether I am social, not whether I'm imbibing or not. Thanks, Abby, for letting me vent.
— SOBER IN SCOTTSDALE
DEAR SOBER: When a non-drinker turns down alcohol, I suspect it makes the drinkers either curious or slightly uncomfortable because they imagine, in their "relaxed" state, that they are being examined — and possibly judged — by someone who is stone cold sober. As to the birthday girl who felt she had to offer an apology or explanation for not drinking, she may have done it out of concern that turning down the alcohol might make the guests feel less inclined to order it themselves.
Readers, there's usually a good reason why a person doesn't drink. It can range from being on a medication where it's contraindicated, a problem metabolizing it or an addiction. So don't question non-drinkers about their choice, and don't push the person to have "just one." You've heard of BYOB? Well, MYOB.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.