DEAR ABBY: I am 14 and recently went snooping through some old boxes in the attic. In one of them, I found a wedding picture with my mother as a bride. I was shocked to see that the groom was not my father. He was a man who is a friend of the family! The date on the photograph is 1980. I had no clue that my mother was ever married before.

Do you think my father knows? I don’t know what to do with this news. – IN SHOCK IN OREGON

Here’s what to do with the “news.” Show the wedding picture to your mother and say, “That must have been some costume party!”

Seriously, I’m sure her first marriage isn’t meant to be a deep, dark family secret. I’m also sure your father is aware of it, because a prior marriage is something that someone HAS to reveal before remarrying; the question is asked at the registrar’s office when a couple applies for a marriage license.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 26-year-old married woman. “Jerry” and I have been married just a year, but we’ve been together for almost four. We have one child who is 3 and another on the way.

Jerry joined the Navy soon after our wedding. He met “Hank” in boot camp, and they became good friends and hung out together until Jerry was deployed to Japan. Hank remained here and comes over from time to time to play with our son.

For the most part, I am content in my marriage, but lately I’ve had strong feelings for Hank. Hank has told me he has feelings for me, too. Now I’m mixed up about everything. I don’t know if I could ever leave my marriage, but more and more I can picture myself with Hank.

Please don’t get me wrong, Abby. I’ve never been one to do wild and crazy things, but right now I feel like I have no control over this. Jerry doesn’t suspect anything and I don’t know if I need to tell him – after all, Hank and I haven’t “slipped.” But my feelings are too strong to ignore. Please help. – CONFUSED NAVY WIFE IN CALIFORNIA

Your husband is away. You are lonely. You are pregnant with your second child, and you are feeling vulnerable. However, you have more control than you think. You can stop seeing Hank – so you will no longer be tempted to “slip.” If you feel you need emotional support, speak to a chaplain on the naval base. You’re a military wife now, and it’s important that you stay strong for your husband. E-mail him. Write to him. Keep yourself occupied. Fill your time so you won’t have time to dwell on Hank.

DEAR ABBY: I am having a terrible time with my husband, “Josh.” We have been married almost 10 years, but the last six have been miserable.

Josh refuses to work on a regular basis. He’s a compulsive liar who looks me right in the eye and lies with conviction. I know my marriage is over, but I am afraid of how a divorce will affect our two kids. It has gotten so bad the kids ask me why I am always unhappy. I am heartbroken, Abby. I know I need to make the break and move on – but how? – HEARTBROKEN WIFE IN NEW JERSEY

Tell your husband you will no longer tolerate the lying, and offer him the chance to take his problem to a therapist. If he refuses, give serious thought to how living with a compulsive liar will affect your children, and then consult an attorney. You did not create this problem, so stop feeling guilty about protecting yourself and the children.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable – and most frequently requested – poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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