DEAR ABBY: My son is a college student with an extremely demanding major. I have become concerned about his mental health.

Last year he began taking an overload of classes, a large number of extracurricular activities, and started a part-time job. As a result, he now feels too stressed to continue school and his grades have dropped. He is also making errors at work and getting into trouble for taking too many days off.

He dropped all his extracurricular activities, but his grades have not improved. Neither has his performance at work. He is now in danger of failing school and being fired from his job. In addition, he’s developing a short temper.

What should I do? And what is your advice for my son? – SCARED DAD IN NEW JERSEY

The most important thing is your son’s health and peace of mind. Encourage him to slow down and take an extra year to complete his studies. Even though it may be more expensive, it will be worth it. Since your son is a student and has access to a student health center, he should make a point of dropping in, discussing his concerns and getting checked out. Some short-term psychological counseling can help him lower his stress level.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 41-year-old woman who has been having a nine-year affair with “Anthony,” a married man. I am also married, but I have been separated from my husband and two sons for four years.

When I tried to encourage Anthony to get a divorce to be with me, he asked me to wait until his children graduated from high school. After they got their diplomas, he begged me to “wait a little longer” until they graduated from college. Well, you guessed it. His three children are all college graduates and on their own. Now Anthony says he “can’t” get a divorce because his wife will get everything and he’ll be ruined!

Abby, Anthony owns his own business. He had it before he married his wife. His wife is a professional with a pension that they could split 50/50. (I’ll admit I haven’t divorced my husband because I need health insurance, and I don’t want to lose out on his pension if Anthony doesn’t leave his wife and marry me.)

I have dated other men, married and single, to make Anthony jealous enough to leave his wife. It hasn’t worked. I can’t understand why his wife doesn’t leave HIM. What do you think is going on here? – NEEDS TO MOVE ON IN SCRANTON, PA.

What’s important is what’s NOT going on here. You have willingly been played for a fool. Anthony has no intention of ever leaving his wife. Not only is she a tough cookie, she’s a smart one. Wake up and smell the coffee. She has the title and the assets, and you’ll always be playing second fiddle.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: A happy union is not one of perfect partners, but the triumph of love over imperfections. – J. HODGES, PORTLAND, ORE.

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.

Good advice for everyone – teens to seniors – is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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