DEAR ABBY: Three years ago, I found out my husband had sexually abused one of his nieces. He took a lie detector test, failed it and confessed. Learning the truth was devastating, and I felt like a fool for having believed him.
We have two children together, both teenaged boys. I had to give my boys the bad news about what their father had done and the reason I could no longer be with him. He had to move out because he was restricted from being with minors. There were so many changes.
Then came the news that their father was arrested and sentenced to six years in prison. I was emotionally drained. I have always been honest with my boys and have never kept anything from them. Because I've had to give them so much bad news, I have tried my best to give them the happiest times that I could. Soon after, he was sent away.
I received word that when he gets out, he will be deported to Mexico. This is something I haven't told my boys yet. They are talking about having a life with their father. When he gets out, they will both be adults. My youngest talks about living with him. When they find out, they will be heartbroken.
They have been doing so well. We've come a long way, and we're finally in a happy place. I don't know how or when to tell them. Should I do it now or wait until closer to his release date? I'm just over the sadness. — EMOTIONALLY DRAINED
DEAR EMOTIONALLY DRAINED: Hang onto your happiness because you deserve all of it that is coming your way. You and your sons have been put through an ordeal not of your making. I see no reason to burden them further with this unhappy news until closer to the time of your husband's release. By then they will be older and better able to adjust to what it will mean if they choose to live with or spend time with their dad.
DEAR ABBY: I am an older woman who is not very attractive. I didn't inherit good looks. This bothers me because all my women friends are married or have been in relationships.
People say looks don't matter, but they are mistaken. The first thing someone sees is your face and physical presence. I keep myself neat and nicely groomed, but I'm not pretty. What do I do to lift myself from this depression? I'm ashamed of my face. — FACING IT IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR FACING IT: Everyone has strong points that make them unique. My mother used to say that the most effective cosmetic is a smile. You might have better luck if you focus less on what you think you don't have and start concentrating on what you DO have to offer.
Not everyone is a beauty contest winner, and they manage to couple up and have healthy relationships with the opposite sex (and sometimes the same sex). Do you have a special talent, a pleasing personality or a good sense of humor? You appear to have a serious case of low self-esteem.
The solution to your problem might be as simple as widening your circle of acquaintances by getting involved in activities you enjoy. But before doing that, it might be in your interest to talk with a licensed mental health professional for help in becoming less critical of yourself.
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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