DEAR ABBY: This is my wife’s second marriage. When we were dating, she led me to believe that I was the second sexual partner she had ever had. Shortly after our wedding, I found out through some mutual acquaintances whom she had attended college with that she had been very promiscuous during her college years and that the number of men she has been with is far greater than two.
I feel lied to and trapped in my marriage. (If I had known this, I would not have married her.) She knows I know. She dismissed it by saying the past doesn’t matter, but what she fails to recognize is that it matters to me. I can’t help but wonder if she has lied to me about something this important, what else will she lie to me about?
I love her and want to stay with her, but I feel betrayed and, frankly, embarrassed by her now. What do I do? — CONFOUNDED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR CONFOUNDED: People lie when they feel threatened, when they want to impress someone or when they’re ashamed of something. The lie your wife told you may fall into the latter category. She wasn’t honest about the number of men she had been with because she knew you would react the way you have.
You say you love her, but if you truly feel embarrassed by the fact that you’re not the second man she has slept with, then you either need to change your attitude or do her a favor and think about ending your marriage. From my perspective, the number of lovers she has had since the wedding is far more important than the number she had before.
Please be aware that many women in our society have had multiple partners, so if you’re looking to replace your wife anytime soon, you may be hard-pressed to find a woman with no experience. If you want to salvage your marriage, I strongly recommend you talk to a therapist, but don’t spend your money unless you can forgive your wife for being afraid to tell you the truth.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a 16-year-old guy, and I have a problem. I recently met a girl in a chat room, and we seemed to hit it off pretty well. As we’ve been talking, she has told me she is suicidal, and in the past three days she has made three attempts to take her life. (As I’m writing this, she is in the hospital.)
Being a sensitive person, I try to talk her out of it, but she keeps shutting me out, and once she’s OK, she is a completely different person. I still want to be her friend, but this is getting to be too much for me. Please help. — WORRIED IN VERMONT
DEAR WORRIED: You are a caring person, but you must recognize that the girl you are corresponding with is emotionally fragile. Right now she is unable to respond to you and, frankly, you are not equipped to help her. It’s good that she is in the hospital, because that is where she needs to be until she can be stabilized.
If you continue to stay in touch with her and she tells you again that she is suicidal, you should ask her where she is and if she has done anything to herself. Then call 911 and report it so she can get help quickly.
DEAR ABBY: What do you do with a husband who is loud and rude, who curses constantly and argues with you and the TV, and is a bully to you and your daughter? — THAT’S IT IN A NUTSHELL
DEAR THAT’S IT: As little as possible.