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Dear Ann Landers: You are so right to warn women against having affairs with married men. A friend of mine (I'll call her "Lilly") fell in love with a married man when she was 23. She knew he had a wife and two children, yet she continued to see him, and even followed him to another state when he was transferred to a new job. Lilly and Mr. X bought a house together, although she only saw him on weeknights. He spent every weekend and holiday with his family back home. She remained loyal and steadfast, hanging in there, hoping -- for 25 years.

Mr. X then met "Jane" through his work. As soon as Jane found out he was married, she told him to take a hike. She refused to have an affair with a married man. Within six months, Mr. X filed for divorce and married Jane.

Lilly cannot understand what happened. She believed him when he said: "We'll get married when the children are older. By then my wife will be able to handle the divorce." The truth is, he was using Lilly. When he met Jane, he couldn't get a divorce fast enough.

Why can't these foolish women see what is clear to everybody else? Lilly threw her life away on this worthless man. She never had children, never forged her own identity, never developed her career, and for what? Now she is almost 50 years old and finds herself adrift.

Please print this for all the Lillies in the world. They need to see it.

-- A View from the Sidelines
Dear Sidelines: Any woman who lets a man string her along for 25 years deserves what she gets -- and Lilly is Exhibit A. Sorry I can't be more sympathetic, but the Lillies of this world are the biggest fools of all, and they eventually pay a huge price for their stupidity.

Lilly is still young enough to turn her life around and move forward. Let's hope she has the good sense and the courage to do it. I wish her luck.

Time to move on

Dear Ann Landers: I will be getting married in two months. At least, I hope so. I have been dating "Serena" for the past three years. I recently discovered that 18 months ago, Serena was secretly seeing one of her old boyfriends. I confirmed my suspicions by doing some snooping and asking around.

I believe Serena has been truly faithful to me for the past year, and I am not angry with her. However, it is important to me that Serena admit what happened and apologize. I confronted her, but she denied any involvement with the ex-boyfriend and became upset with me for questioning her. She said some unkind things and left the room in a huff.

I know for a fact that this affair went on, and I only want Serena to admit it so I can forgive her. If she is lying to me now, how can I trust her in the future? Unfortunately, if I tell her I snooped around, it might destroy our relationship.

Should I marry Serena, knowing she has been unfaithful and is lying about it? Or should I simply move on?

-- Need Help in Utah
Dear Utah: The woman is a liar. What more do you need to know? Obviously, you are not the type of man who can ignore the past. The two of you are headed for trouble if you go ahead with this marriage. The waters are already muddied. I say, move on, and find a woman you can trust. Serena has proven that she's not the one.

Gem of the Day

The Detroit String Quartet played Brahms last night. Brahms lost. (Credit Bennett Cerf)

Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

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