DEAR ABBY: I am a mother of three and happily married to my kids' father. I am now seven months pregnant with my fourth baby, but this child is not my husband's. My husband is a loving man and a good father. My problem is, I don't know how to tell him I'm not carrying his baby. The man I slept with is married and always saying he wants to marry me. He has one son with his wife. I love my kids, and I still love my husband. How can I tell him the truth without tearing my family apart? — BIG MISTAKE

DEAR BIG MISTAKE: Not knowing your husband, I can't guess at how he will react when you break the news. I'm sure he won't be pleased to hear it. Regardless, he must be told, so do it at a time when it's calm and quiet and you can discuss it without your children running in and out. I am sure he will have many questions — among them, whether you plan to continue a relationship with the child's father. (Does the man plan to be part of the baby's life in years to come?)

Because this may have legal ramifications, discuss this with an attorney, who can guide you in case there may be visitation issues, custody problems, etc. lurking just beyond the horizon.

DEAR ABBY: I talked with one of my siblings about having a joint vacation. He suggested all of us get together with our spouses and go on one together. We discussed locations and had a family meeting to discuss the possibility. We're all in our 50s or older, and some of us have health issues.

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There has always been a lot of bickering between some of us because of control issues. I explained to everyone that we can make our requests for locations, activities, etc., but we all need to be willing to give a little. The bickering is continuing, and some unkind things were said about others.

I just want to plan a fun vacation and have a good time, but I'm worried the negativity will carry over to the vacation. We are all we have left in this world. Our parents died years ago, and since then, one of our siblings has passed away, too. I worry that this may be a last chance for all of us to be together. All but one live within 10 miles of each other, and I'm sad to say we get together only a few times a year. Any suggestions on how to handle this sticky situation? — IN VACATION MODE

DEAR VACATION MODE: Taking into consideration the family dynamics you have described, it's wishful thinking to believe you can control the way your siblings relate to each other. The reason they see each other so infrequently may have something to do with the fact that some of them are petty, immature and nasty. My suggestion would be to invite only those siblings who can get along with each other and see the other ones separately.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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