DEAR ABBY: This is difficult, but I have no one here I can confide in. I’m ashamed, confused and unsure. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as I am finding it more difficult every Sunday.

Without going into specific beliefs and asking questions that can only be answered by faith, I will simplify: Is it better to go to church for the wrong reasons than not to go at all? I don’t think I am fooling “Him” – and I know I’m not fooling myself.

The others, including my wife, are, if not wise to me, suspicious. I don’t like my hypocrisy, but I’m afraid of the reactions – and repercussions – should I “out” myself and stay home. I’m uncomfortable masquerading every Sunday, being the loyal husband and worshipper while being untrue to myself. Help. (Or am I beyond it?) – BETWEEN A ROCK AND A CLOSET

DEAR BETWEEN: I have always believed that husbands and wives are members of the same “team” and should be able to level with each other, so I’m having trouble understanding why you are masquerading and hiding the way you feel. I also believe that people can communicate with God in their own way, wherever they are, because God is everywhere – not just confined to church property.

Because you are left feeling empty and unfulfilled by the Sunday sermons, you may need to look elsewhere for spiritual fulfillment. However, until you find the courage to express your feelings and stand by them, you will remain forever between a rock and a closet.

DEAR ABBY: I would like to help my friend “George.” His ex-wife, “Carol,” left him in 2003 because his hours at work were cut and his salary decreased by $20,000. She told him she no longer loved him. Abby, George supported her when she wanted to become a teacher, studied to be a bartender and then an actress. They had been married four years when she dumped him.

In 2004, George met a single mother with a young daughter. They fell in love. Soon after, Carol re-entered his life and took a job at his company to be closer to him. It affected his relationship with the single mom. He broke off their engagement and moved out.

George is now dating Carol again. He told me a few months ago that she had filed for bankruptcy. Financially, he is doing well again. But he seems blind to the fact that Carol is seeing him only because she needs someone to support her as she struggles to become an actress. He was her third husband.

I used to be her confidant. She told me after she and George had been married only nine months that she didn’t love him, and only stayed married to him because he was a warm body and a steady paycheck. She’ll use him again until she finds a man who is wealthier and more interesting.

What can I do to help my friend, Abby? He has turned to alcohol and pot to numb himself. – GEORGE’S FRIEND, NOT CAROL’S

DEAR FRIEND: I assume that between his alcohol and pot binges, your friend George is confiding in you. If you are truly his friend, you’ll tell him that it’s clear he is in emotional pain and suggest that he get professional help “to see him through this difficult period.” Your friend is accident-prone when it comes to love, and counseling is what he really needs.

CONFIDENTIAL TO MY READERS: Today is a double-barreled holiday! To my African-American readers, a Happy Kwanzaa to you all. And to my Jewish readers, a very Happy Hanukkah!

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.


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