Dear Abby: Teens are kept in the dark about dad’s office affair

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Dear Abby: My husband of 20 years has blindsided me by announcing he’s leaving. Come to find out he’s “in love” with a co-worker and thinks they are soul mates. Our close friends and family know about the affair (and are dismayed), but our teenaged kids don’t. He told them we simply grew apart.

His suddenly leaving with no attempt to work on the marriage sends a confusing message. Is it best the kids don’t know about her, or will it hurt them more if they find out later? How do I talk to them about the commitment of marriage without criticizing him, and does that include protecting his lie?

— Confused in California

Dear Confused: Your children are teenagers. Teenagers today are very wise in the ways of the world. They are also observant; when they visit their father at his place, they will draw their own conclusions.

As to talking to them about the commitment of marriage, refrain from doing it when you are emotional, and leave out any reference to their father and his “soul mate” unless they bring it up. You have my sympathy.

Dear Abby: Every year in my neighborhood, “lost dog” signs appear the day after the Fourth of July. Would you please print a reminder to dog owners that noise from fireworks can cause pets to become so frightened they bolt from home and become lost. Keep your pets inside anytime you can hear fireworks.

On the Fourth, which is noisy all day, when my dogs have to go out, I go out WITH them (even though I have a fenced yard). I want to be able to see them every second. Better safe than sorry.

— Pet Lover in Barnhart, Missouri

Dear Pet Lover: I’m sure my readers will be grateful for your timely reminder. And while we’re on the subject of lost pets, this would be a good time to ensure that your dog (or cat) is properly identified with a microchip or ID tag in case it does manage to get away from you.

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