Dear Ann: I separated from my husband a year ago. "Victor" was a drug abuser, and we fought constantly. We have two children, and I felt this was not a healthy environment for them. I am a private person and do not broadcast my personal business. Victor, however, talks openly to everybody. He is gregarious and friendly, and people like him. He told our friends the separation was MY fault. Although I found this disturbing, I said nothing.
Six months ago, I became involved with a man at work. He is kind and sweet, and is willing to wait for me. As soon as Victor found out I was seeing someone, he blabbed to our friends that the reason I wanted out of our marriage was because I had been having an affair with a co-worker the whole time. Unfortunately, everyone seems to believe this lie.
I am tired of trying to hold my head up, hoping people will admire me for taking the high road, but no one seems to notice. I am being shunned by those who know and like Victor. Please tell me if there is any way I can tell my side. I feel as if I'm being unjustly judged and condemned. New York Judy
Dear Judy: Remain silent. Remember, "He who excuses himself, accuses himself." In due time, the truth will come out and set you free.
I assume you are still married to Victor. The sooner you get legally untied from this loser, the better. Meanwhile, I wish you luck with your new relationship.
Dear Ann: This is for the man who stated that his retirement savings was HIS money and not an inheritance for his children. I say, hooray for him! My father is gone now, and my mother is remarried to a wonderful man. Mom grew up the youngest of six children. Her father died when she was 14, and her mother was chronically ill. As a child, Mom's bedroom was a converted closet. She and her siblings walked along the railroad tracks and picked up coal that had fallen from the boxcars. That's how they heated the house.
My mother and father worked hard all their lives, much of it at jobs they took for the benefit of the family, not jobs they had a passion for. The day Mom retired was one of the happiest of her entire life.
I tell Mom to enjoy her life and her new husband. They are able to travel and go out to eat whenever they want. She can buy nice things that she could never afford before. I hope she spends every blessed penny of "my inheritance" on her life's dreams. She spent her whole life doing things for her family and did a fine job raising her children. She owes us nothing now. A Daughter Rich in Her Mother's Love in N.J.
Dear N.J.: What a tribute to your wonderful mom. How lovely that she has a great life now. Richly deserved, I say. When this letter appears in her local paper, I hope she sees it.
Dear Ann: Here is a suggestion for what to do with those helium-filled balloons that are left over when the party ends. After a recent wedding reception, several family members divided the dozens of balloons into groups and took them to three area hospitals. The patients, especially ailing senior citizens and young children, were delighted to have them.
This is a wonderful way to give pleasure to others. Please tell your readers. Hugo in Jacksonville, Fla.
Dear Hugo: What a lovely idea! Not only will those balloons not go to waste, they will provide enjoyment for those who can use a lift. Thank you.