Abby: Divorcing husband wary of wife’s online deception

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I have been married for 10 years. Four years ago, while I was waiting for our divorce to be finalized, I decided that I’d start dating online and suggested that she do the same. We were still friends, so I didn’t think suggesting it was crossing any boundaries.

My online dating efforts were met with peculiar results. All of the six women I connected with either stood me up or made excuses why they couldn’t or wouldn’t meet me in person. Out of frustration I began dating my wife again and we canceled the divorce proceedings.

About a year after we got back together, my wife confessed that the women I had reached out to online were all fictitious personae that she had constructed with the intent of exhausting my search efforts. It worked.

We are now filing for divorce again, and I’m worried she may do the same thing.

What can I do?

Southern Guy

Dear Southern Guy: Because you think your wife might pull that stunt again, stop sharing any details of your online dating pursuits with her. Definitely refrain from telling her which sites you’re using. (Use different ones than before.)

Or, hearken back to the good old days and try meeting people in person. The worst that could happen might be that you encounter your soon-to-be ex in various disguises — but you know her well enough by now that you should be able to see through them.

Dear Abby: I was raised in the Christian faith by my pastor parents. As I reached my early teens, I realized that those beliefs didn’t really fit, and I gradually stopped attending church. I stayed away all through college. My time away only solidified that, in terms of belief, Christianity wasn’t for me.

After I graduated this year, I realized I missed the community and ritual of the faith and the church. There are a number of churches in my area, but I feel guilty attending one when I don’t believe in the same things as the other members.

My family always taught me to be considerate of the beliefs of the people around me, and it seems dishonest to go to a service and listen to prayers my heart doesn’t embrace.

I’d still like to attend church.

Have you any suggestions for what might be a good course of action? Should I go to church or stay home?

Unorthodox in Ohio

Dear Unorthodox: You don’t have to stay home. Instead, explore a denomination that has no dogma or creed.

One denomination in particular, Unitarian Universalism, has been mentioned before in this column.

Unitarian Universalists believe in the dignity and worth of every human being, and encourage and support others in following their personal spiritual paths. If you would like more information, visit

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.