DEAR ABBY: Shortly after college and a bad breakup, I met someone I thought was a "nice" guy. I allowed him to take sexually explicit photos of me. I realize now that I did it because I had very low self-esteem back then.
The moment he snapped the pictures I regretted it and asked for them back. He refused, and even tried to extort money from me with threats of sending copies to my workplace. I was working for a Fortune 500 company at the time and was scared to death. Fortunately, he didn't follow through on his threat.
Fast forward 20 years: I am now a stay-at-home mom with a wonderful husband and two young children. I still think about the mistakes I made all those years ago, and I had a dream recently about this particular situation. I'm not worried about my husband finding out because I told him about this before we were married. However, I do wonder what happened to the pictures. With today's technology, they could be anywhere now.
Who we are today is not necessarily who we are going to be tomorrow. Abby, please warn young girls and boys to THINK before doing something that can possibly follow them through a lifetime.
— NAMELESS IN GEORGIA
DEAR NAMELESS: Amen! But your letter is a more effective warning than any sermon that could come from me. Not only is it a fact that the photos and statements we post on the Internet are there for eternity, but the "sexts," texts, videos and blogs of yesteryear can haunt us like tattered vagrant ghosts instead of staying buried. One need only recall the embarrassment of certain celebrities — who should have known better — whose names and images have been blasted across the media and learn from their mistakes.
DEAR ABBY: My wife had a series of affairs during our 25 years of marriage. I loved her, so I tried to ignore what was happening for the sake of our three children. When she left me for her boss, divorce was my only option.
The years have passed and I am remarried to a wonderful woman. We are happy together and life is good.
Abby, what should my role be in building a bridge between my children and their mother? Our oldest son hasn't spoken to her in seven years. The middle child, our daughter, has accepted her mother's husband. Our younger son blocks his mother's calls and e-mails.
The kids are in their 20s and live on their own. The hurt is still there from her betrayal, cheating and lies, but I worry about my kids and their relationship with their mother. Is it my responsibility to intercede on her behalf?
— DISTRESSED DAD IN ILLINOIS
DEAR DISTRESSED DAD: No. In fact, you should stay out of it.
DEAR ABBY: I just started counseling for postpartum depression. My husband keeps asking me what we talked about. During the counseling sessions I discuss all aspects of my life — including my husband. How can I let him know that what I discuss with my therapist is none of his business?
— NEW MAMA IN ARIZONA
DEAR NEW MAMA: Your husband's curiosity is natural, particularly if he has never had any counseling. My advice is to tell him that during the sessions, you and your therapist talk about your feelings. Then invite him to a session and let him listen. Unless he is one of the causes of your depression, he'll probably be bored.
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.