DEAR ABBY: Two men have left their wives for me. The relationship I had with the first one ended very badly (his choice). The second started shortly thereafter, and I am still with him.
When the first man found out, he tried to resume seeing me and became verbally abusive and harassed me when I wouldn't. He hasn't returned to his wife and has tried twice to commit suicide.
Both of these men are now divorced, and their ex-wives and children are understandably bitter. Even though they made the decision to leave without me asking them to -- or even being aware that they were going to -- I feel guilty having a hand in ending two marriages.
I'm sure the last thing either the wives or the children would want from me is an apology or any contact at all. What else can I do to come to terms with and accept what happened? -- THE OTHER WOMAN
DEAR OTHER WOMAN: You appear to be carrying a large burden of guilt. And that's a good thing. There is nothing you can do to make amends to the families you have helped ruin because you can't change the past. All you can do is vow that in the future you won't fool around with any more married men. And then stick to it.
DEAR ABBY: When I was 9, my mother knitted me a small blanket, about the size of a baby's. I lost her to cancer a year later, when I was 10. Since then, I have carried it with me everywhere.
I am 26 now and married. I still have the blanket and carry it with me in my purse. Recently, I mentioned it to my husband and some friends. They were not supportive like I thought they would be. They made fun of me and called me "immature."
I got defensive and told them it was a reminder of my mother. My husband said I should keep a picture of her instead and throw the blanket away.
Abby, now I feel insecure and childish. Is a security blanket normal for someone my age, or should I just listen to my friends? -- MRS. LINUS IN TEXAS
DEAR MRS. LINUS: Your question is not as unusual as you may think. It has appeared in my column before.
Considering the story behind the blanket, I understand why you are so attached to it. Lack of maturity has nothing to do with this. The connection to the mother you lost at such a tender age has everything to do with it.
Your husband and friends appear to have hides of "pure Corinthian leather." Do whatever makes you comfortable and do not apologize for it.
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law goes through my mail and any items on my desk at home. She used to do it in secret and would stop when she got caught. Now she does it in front of me, but never when my husband is around.
I don't care why she's doing it; I just want her to stop. How do I relay that to her without offending her? -- FRUSTRATED SOMEWHERE IN THE USA
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Because you can't bring yourself to tell your mother-in-law plainly that what she's doing is rude and nosy, when you know she's coming over, put your papers out of sight.
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