Husband revisiting youth leaves family

DEAR ABBY: I am writing this in the hope that you may be able to help me. My husband of 20 years, "Rocky," has moved out of our home and into the apartment of his first love from 25 years ago. Because of some research I did on the Internet, as well as some conversations I had with a doctor, I think it's possible that he is going through a mid-life crisis.

Rocky is 43. I don't like the life he led all those years ago, and I'm afraid he is headed back in the same direction. He has changed, but she has not.

Rocky refuses to talk to me and hasn't spoken to the kids since he left. He says he is scared of what they will say to him and of how they must feel toward him. I am so hurt. I love my husband so much and miss him with all my heart. Do men who go through changes like this usually return to the families they left behind? Please help me.


DEAR WIFE: Some straying husbands recognize that they have made a mistake, return to their families and make their marriages work. Others do not. Only time will tell into which category your husband will fall.

In the meantime, do nothing rash. Wait him out. Have the kids write to their father once a week, telling him how much they love him, miss him and need him. You should do the same, and enlist the help of your in-laws to see that the messages get through. While you're at it, assure him that you're willing to work on whatever issues drove a wedge between you in the first place.

I can't guarantee that this kind of campaign will work, but it's certainly worth a try. And in order to retain your sanity, stay active, in close touch with friends and family, and cultivate support systems of your own. And please know that I'm rooting for you.

DEAR ABBY: One of my girlfriends, "Dana," broke up with her boyfriend, "Gil," last summer. Prior to the breakup, Dana had obtained the password for his computer log-in to help him fix a computer problem. After the split, she tried Gil's computer password on his e-mail and gained access to his e-mail account. Dana has been reading his e-mail for six months.

When they split, he requested that there be no contact of any kind. Should I contact Gil and tell him what has been going on? And is this stalking?


DEAR ANONYMOUS: Yes, it could be considered a form of stalking, because Dana appears to be obsessed with who her former boyfriend is seeing and what he's doing. You would be going Gil a favor to tell him to change his password. Wouldn't you want to know? I would!

DEAR ABBY: I have lived for years without an answering machine. It was my choice. Many people have complained to me about it over the years, but I feel that between my phone, my cell phone, my husband's cell phone and his business line, we are quite reachable &

and what's the big deal, anyway? I'm home almost all the time and frequently scroll through my caller ID.

Is it a breach of "good manners" not to have an answering machine, as many people have suggested?


DEAR JULIE: No rule of etiquette "demands" that you have an answering machine or be available to people 24/7. Everyone deserves private time. Perhaps the complainers are upset because you are not calling them back as quickly as they would like. But that's their problem, so don't make it yours.

Dear Abby is written by , 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.

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