DEAR ABBY: About 12 years ago, I made a terrible mistake and had an affair. My husband loved me enough to forgive me, and our marriage has been fine ever since.
The problem is, I can't forgive myself. I hate myself. I could have lost everything, including our two kids. I think of all the time I wasted when I could have shared that time with them, and I beat myself up daily over this.
I have been depressed for so long. How do I get over this? I'm on meds, but it's deeper than that. I feel I have a seat waiting in hell because of it. So - no chance for heaven - what's the point in trying to be happy?
I can't afford counseling, and I don't have a priest to talk to. Is there some kind of counseling group online I could join?
- Miserable in Colorado
DEAR MISERABLE: It appears that, not satisfied with waiting for hell in the hereafter, you have managed to create one for yourself right here on Earth. As far as I know, there's no Jezebels Anonymous support group.
It would be appropriate to find a priest who could give you absolution. However, because there isn't one, and it appears you're having a crisis of the soul, confide in a member of the clergy of another faith. Trust me, it won't be the first time he or she has heard a story like yours, and it may bring you comfort.
Terrible fear of 'three' and untimely deaths
DEAR ABBY: I have a fear of "threes." My brother, whom I never met, died at 3 months because he had a hole in his heart. My dad died at 43, the day before his 44th birthday. My other brother also died at the age of 43. Mom died in the third month (March) when she was 63 years old, and that's just immediate family. Other family members and a couple of friends also had the number three connected to their untimely deaths.
Whenever the number three comes up, it drives me crazy. I just turned 40 and was miserable during my 30s, anticipating that I would be next. I'm sure I'll be fine for the next two years, but knowing my dad and brother died at 43 will make me fearful for the whole year. Am I cursed?
- Numbers Phobia
DEAR NUMBERS PHOBIA: You have experienced more loss in your life than the average person. For that I can only offer my sympathy. However, you are viewing this the wrong way. Three isn't your unlucky number - it was the unlucky number of the people who died. Because a particular fate befalls someone close does not guarantee the same misfortune will happen to you. Please, enjoy the life you are given to the fullest every day, and stop diminishing your quality of life with morbid thoughts. It is your negative thinking that's the curse, and nothing more.
Easing broken heart
of rejected 6-year-old
DEAR ABBY: What should I have told my heartbroken 6-year-old daughter when all the other girls (four) on our block were invited to a birthday party except her?
- Minnesota Mom
DEAR MOM: If she were my daughter, I would have told her that we were going to do something special that day - just the two of us - and then I would have made it happen.