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Stop bouncing from husband to husband

Kathy Mitchell Marcy Sugar Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I am 24 years old and divorced. I left my husband, “Chris,” three years ago, because I met someone else who promised me the world. Thinking the grass was greener, I left Chris for this man.

Things were great for about seven months, and then his drinking started interfering in the relationship. I realized he wasn’t exactly right for me. I ended up having a child for him, and now I feel pressured to stay, because he holds it over my head that if I leave him, he will not support this child. I know I cannot do it by myself. I also have two other children.

I have realized for a long time that I still love Chris. I’ve tried to tell him how sorry I am and that I hope we can work things out in the future, but Chris isn’t interested. He already has told me that he still loves me, but he can never forgive me for what I have done.

Should I give up on the chance of getting back together with my ex- husband? Should I stay with the guy I’m with now so that he will be a father to his child? Help me decide. – In Love but Confused

Dear In Love: The law says the father must provide child support, so don’t let him threaten you. As for returning to your ex-husband, please take a little time and get your head together. You don’t want to bounce from one relationship to another, subjecting your children to such instability. Instead of expecting some man to take care of you, learn to care for yourself so you can make better, more mature decisions. Some low-cost counseling may help. Try United Way, the YMCA or the Alliance for Children and Families (alliance1.org).

Dear Annie: My husband and I, along with my sister-in-law and her husband, planned a celebration for my in-laws’ 50th anniversary, which included a nice dinner and dessert at my house. Since none of us is well-to-do, this modest party is what we are able to afford.

We were excited to tell my in-laws about our plans. However, we were stunned when they informed us that our idea was not good enough. My in-laws have since arranged a catered affair at a reception hall for their anniversary and told us that we all are expected to help pay for it.

We simply do not have the money for such an expensive party, and neither does my sister-in-law. We are hurt and frustrated with the whole situation. How should we handle this? – Crushed in New York

Dear Crushed: Your in-laws should be told, as sweetly as possible, that you are so happy they are celebrating 50 years together, and you will be thrilled to attend their affair and contribute exactly the amount you were willing to spend on the original event. Do NOT back down. What they did was presumptuous and rude. (Make sure your husband and sister-in-law do most of the talking.)

Dear Annie: This is for “Smoldering in the Office,” whose co-workers took frequent cigarette breaks. Don’t smolder;beat them at their own game.

The nonsmokers in our office also take breaks, but instead of loading up our lungs with nicotine, we take walks around the building or sit at the nonsmokers’ table and chat, or we read books or do crosswords. Just because we don’t smoke is no reason we should have to carry the workload while the smokers are out doing their thing. – Nonsmoker in Jacksonville, Fla.

Dear Nonsmoker: We heard from dozens of readers saying similar things (one said to go out with the smokers and take a “lollipop break”). We agree that the amount of break time should be equal.

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