Dear Abby: Four years ago, after three years of marriage, I had a brief affair and was caught by my husband, who is a doctor. We had little girls, so he decided not to divorce me, but I had to cut my long hair short in a man’s style and stop wearing makeup or jewelry except for my wedding ring. He donated all my designer clothes, and bought me men’s clothes. I have begged him to let me wear women’s clothes again and allow me to wear even a short woman’s hairstyle, but he refuses.
Our two daughters are old enough now to notice, and they are a little embarrassed by how Mommy dresses. I no longer have any desire for an affair, but simply want to look attractive. I was a beauty queen in college, but now even my female friends think dressing like this is my idea. Sometimes I feel so embarrassed in public that I want to hide. What do you suggest I try to get him to let me wear my hair long and women’s clothes again? – Wants to Be Me Again
Dear Wants to Be You: I hope you are aware that what your husband has been doing is considered emotional abuse. What you did was wrong, but you should not have to spend the rest of your life looking like a man if you don’t want to.
To say that your husband is controlling would be an understatement. Because you need more help than anyone can give you in a letter, I’m urging you to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The website is thehotline.org; the toll-free phone number is 800-799-7233. Please don’t put this off.
Dear Abby: With all of the racial tensions going on, and an attack on the local police force, there doesn’t seem to be much escape. My husband thinks that watching the news is my “duty,” and I have been doing it to the point of having anxiety attacks. Is it our duty to surround ourselves with the negative so much that we forget the fun part of life? – News Overload in Texas
Dear News Overload: If the news is having a negative effect on your health, you need to ration it or take a short break. Rather than inform, I’m sad to say, the television news has degenerated into the equivalent of a series of brutal spectator sports events. If you would rather not submerge yourself in the blood and tears, you have my permission not to watch. Instead, make sure to schedule activities that bring you pleasure and joy for balance – i.e. ones that involve music, exercise, friends or the outdoors.
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