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DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Chris," wanted a motorcycle for seven years. Last year I finally gave in, with the stipulation that he take a safety course and buy a good helmet and riding gear.
Two months later, Chris was in a crash and suffered several broken bones and a concussion. The hospital bill was more than $60,000. His accident was a reality check for me. Ever since, I have been petrified of losing him. Every time Chris rides I worry, pray and often cry until he returns or calls to say he's OK.
I have begged him to get rid of the bike. The stress is taking a toll on me physically and emotionally and creating tension between us. I'm afraid it would be selfish to insist he get rid of something he loves; on the other hand, I feel Chris is selfish for not taking my feelings into consideration. I'm torn between wanting him safe and wanting him to be happy. What should I do?
- Stressed out in Philly
DEAR STRESSED OUT: If his close call wasn't enough to convince your husband to rethink his motorcycle riding, and your begging and obvious distress haven't dissuaded him, accept that short of hog-tying Chris, you can't stop him from riding.
You can, however, protect yourself from some of the fallout that might result from another accident. Tell Chris that if his heart is set on riding, you want him to buy a life insurance policy and sign an organ donor card, because healthy young men on motorcycles are the most desired organ donors - a fact shared with me by a former executive director of an organ donation registry. That way you will be provided for in case of a tragedy - and it will ensure that part of him lives on when he is removed from life support.
It's also important that you find ways to lessen your stress. So start making time for activities you can enjoy while you're on your own. It'll give you less time to worry and something else on which to concentrate.
DEAR ABBY: I am a woman who last year discovered I was gay. I was married with children. When I told my husband I was gay, he embraced and supported me with a great deal of love. We told our children in an open and honest way, and they, too, have supported me. I have also told a select group of friends whom I felt I could trust.
One of these friends is the mother of one of my son's classmates. Her daughter asked her mom why I was always with a woman and her response was, "It's her girlfriend." Her daughter asked more questions, so her mother told her I was gay - outing me to her daughter and my son's classmates! I am beyond hurt, and I am considering dissolving my friendship with this person. I am unsure what I should say or do. Can you help?
- Confused in Seattle
DEAR CONFUSED: Once a "secret" is shared, there is no guarantee that it will remain a secret. When you began coming out to your friends, you revealed who you are. You CAN'T be both in and out of the closet.
Please forgive your friend. Her daughter asked honest questions and was given honest answers. That is a good thing. There are worse things than being known as gay in Seattle - such as being gay in a place that's less accepting. So start celebrating who you are and the rest will fall into place.
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.
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