DEAR ABBY: My husband had an affair with a stripper. I found out about it because he bought her some jewelry and was stupid enough to have the bill sent to our home.
We have been married more than 20 years and I love him, but this haunts me every day. I am heartbroken, but I'm trying to make our marriage work. He never admitted to any of it and says nothing happened between them.
I don't know whether to keep on trying or leave him and hope to get on with my life. What's your advice?
— WOUNDED HEART IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR WOUNDED HEART: You have my sympathy, but one person can't save a marriage alone. It takes effort on the part of both husband and wife, plus honest communication and often professional counseling to heal a relationship when there has been infidelity. Your husband may say "nothing" happened with the stripper, but the only man I can think of who bought jewelry for a woman he wasn't related to or romantically involved with was Michael Jackson when he gave some to Elizabeth Taylor.
Even though you love your husband, it's time to start taking care of yourself. And the place to start is by insisting on professional counseling. If he won't go, go without him.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have a 24-year-old developmentally disabled son who lives with us. Three months ago, he met a nice girl at the mental health program he attends. They hold hands, go to the movies and occasionally smooch.
Recently, "Jasper" had a mark on his neck. We were over at a friend's house for dinner when my best friend noticed the mark. She then proceeded to tell me I should consider getting Jasper "fixed." At first, I wasn't sure I'd heard her correctly, so I asked her to repeat it. I am shocked that she thinks I should have my son sterilized.
Jasper is diagnosed with ADD and Asperger's syndrome. According to his mental health counselor, he could someday be married, have children and lead a productive, independent life. It just may take him longer to get to that point in comparison with his peers.
How should I respond to my friend about her suggestion? When she made it, I didn't know what to say.
— SPEECHLESS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR SPEECHLESS: If you still want to maintain the friendship with the woman, tell her what your son's mental health counselor said about his prospects for the future. But first, if you haven't already, make sure Jasper clearly understands everything he needs to know to protect himself and his nice girlfriend from premature parenthood.
DEAR ABBY: Please answer a question for me. Why do we fall in love with people who we absolutely, positively cannot have?
— HEARTBROKEN IN INDIANAPOLIS
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: You have asked a question for which there is more than one answer. Some people do it because they don't recognize the warning signs quickly enough to back off before becoming enmeshed. Others can't resist a challenge. And still others do it because — believe it or not — it's less threatening than falling in love with someone we absolutely, positively CAN have.
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.