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DEAR ABBY: I have been married 30 years and have raised four children to adulthood. I recently found out my husband has been having an affair with a prostitute from a strip club. He paid all her living expenses and promised to marry her. She was 26 when it started; he is 56. He told her his wife had run away with another man and that he was divorced. When I confronted him, he lied, lied, lied.
He wants to continue living together and pretend nothing happened. He went to counseling and quit. Then he went to a psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with a "mixed personality disorder." He says he wants to make up for his mistake with me, but all the while he was having unprotected sex.
I doubt he'll ever stop lying to me because he always has. I can't spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder because this has happened before, although not to this extent. He said he just "led a double life" and he doesn't want to do it anymore. He admitted he did it because he never thought he would get caught.
During this long affair, he was brazen, arrogant and abusive to me. Now he wants to be attentive, but he makes me sick. What do I do?
- Can't trust him in New Jersey
DEAR CAN'T TRUST HIM: Only you can decide that, but in order to do it rationally, without anger or vengefulness, I'm advising you to make up your mind AFTER some sessions with a psychologist on your own. What your husband wants at this point is far less important than what YOU want. And why you would want to continue in a marriage to an abusive philanderer is something only you can answer.
DEAR ABBY: I am a gay man who has been single for seven years. I met this guy, "Mark," about 10 months ago and we hit it off immediately. We have almost everything in common except that I'm a Democrat and he's a Republican. We both know how we feel about our political differences and decided to continue dating anyway.
My problem concerns my other gay friends, mostly Democrats, who don't like Mark because he's a Republican. I have tried explaining to them that we overlook our differences and concentrate on the many things we have in common, and they should try to do the same. But they no longer invite me to gatherings and their phone calls have ceased.
I feel hurt and rejected by my closest friends, some of whom I have known my whole life. I feel torn between them and Mark, who is someone I really care for. Is it wrong to continue my relationship with my boyfriend at the expense of my friends?
- Politically incorrect
DEAR POLITICALLY INCORRECT: Twenty-twelve was a particularly heated election year, with important issues at stake and negative campaigning bringing out the worst in many people. Now that the election has been decided, one would hope that inflamed emotions will settle down and life can return to normal.
I know several couples who have strong and happy "mixed" marriages in which the spouses do not always agree politically. It is a shame that you would be required to choose between the man you care for and your longtime friends, who want to ignore that there are also gay Republicans.
I see nothing wrong with continuing your relationship with Mark; however, I think it may be time for you to expand your circle of friends if this is how your old ones behave. You'll all be happier if you do. Trust me on that.
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.