DEAR ABBY: I'm a 38-year-old woman who used to be nice. Then I had a three-year affair. Knowing I'm one of America's bigger fools — and for such a long time — is infuriating, but I finally saw the light. The only person I think is a bigger fool than me is his wife.

Some "highlights" of our romance: He gave me an STD during spring break, I found "Ally's" phone number in his contact file, and I saw a blonde in a white convertible drop him off in front of his house at 9:15 in the morning, which, according to him, "never happened." My eyes don't lie. After I was struck by a car in a crosswalk, he never once called me to see how I was. After that, his teenage son followed me around town flipping me off and shouting obscenities at me. There's more, but I'll spare you.

Please warn your readers to stay away from affairs. They demean you, your mate will lose trust in you, and the person you're having the affair with — can that person ever really be trusted? Won't he cheat on you, too? This "wonderful" man is an elementary school teacher. (Think about what he is teaching your kids, folks!)

Like I said, I used to be nice. I used to care and trust. No more! This man changed not only my entire life but also my family's. Will I ever forgive MYSELF?

P.S. I have spent thousands of dollars for counseling. It's a lot of money, but I am worth it. 

— FINALLY SAW THE LIGHT

DEAR FINALLY: Love may be blind, but I'm pleased you finally saw the light. I'm also pleased that you realized you needed professional help to regain some self-esteem. Your bitterness jumps off the pages of your letter. If you work on that with your counselor, too, it will be money well spent.

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