DEAR ABBY: My father admitted to having an affair a few years ago. At the time, my mother was very upset and threatened to leave, but somehow they worked it out. However, he is still seeing this woman. They talk on the phone for hours, and he visits her house frequently, leaving my mother alone for extended periods of time.
When I ask my mother why they are still in contact, she doesn't want to talk about it, and my father seems to think he isn't doing anything wrong. Normally I wouldn't get involved, but I'm worried about my mother's health, which wasn't quite great to begin with and has gone downhill since this all started. Is there anything I can do in this situation? -- WORRIED ABOUT MOM
DEAR WORRIED: It appears your parents made a deal with each other -- he would live his own life and they would remain married. Because it is affecting your mother's health, suggest that she discuss this with her physician and perhaps get a referral to a therapist who can provide her with emotional support during this difficult time. If she agrees, it could help her physically and emotionally because stress and depression have been known to make people sick.
DEAR ABBY: My partner, "Rob," and I are delighted we can finally marry in our home state of California. When we do, how do you suggest we answer the question that straight married couples often get, "How long have you two been married?"
Rob and I have been together for 17 years, and it's not our fault that we didn't get married many years ago. Without having to make a political statement each time we're asked, should we simply tack on the number of years we've been together without the benefit of marriage? I'm proud of the time we've been a couple, and even prouder that I love Rob as much today as when we first fell for each other.
What should the answer be after we tie the knot? -- KEN IN THE GOLDEN STATE
DEAR KEN: Congratulations on your forthcoming nuptials. The answer you should give is the most accurate one: "Rob and I have been married for (insert the number) years and together for 17 years before that." To say that is not making a political statement; it's the unvarnished truth.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for 13 years. We live in the country with livestock. I was taught to remove my shoes when I entered my house, especially since I was raised on a farm. My husband wasn't required to do the same as he was growing up.
I have asked him for the last 10 years to kindly take his shoes off when he comes in so he won't track dirt, mud, manure, etc. into the house. He absolutely refuses. I have explained my reasons repeatedly and told him it hurts my feelings and makes me feel disrespected. He still won't do it. Can you please tell me why? Am I being too demanding? -- TIRED OF WALKING ON GRIT AND POOP
DEAR TIRED: I don't think so. Your reasons for wanting his dirty shoes off seem sensible to me. From where I sit, it appears your husband cares little for your feelings, isn't concerned about any extra work he creates and stopped listening to you 10 years ago. You have my sympathy, and I sincerely hope he has some virtues that compensate for his selective deafness.
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