Dear abby relationship problems

Dear abby relationship problems DEFAULT

DEAR ABBY: Man's bisexual past gnaws at woman's sense of trust

Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I am a 49-year-old woman who has been in a romantic relationship with a good, caring man for two years. We live together, and he shows me all the time how much he loves me. We have amazing chemistry and are very affectionate. We enjoy spending time together, especially outdoors.

When we first started dating, he told me he was bisexual and had had relationships with men. He insists I am his true love and he is with only me now. He has never shown signs of straying, but sometimes I get insecure and wonder if I should take him at his word that he only wants me. Should I trust him? — WANTS TO BE SURE IN RHODE ISLAND

DEAR WANTS: This man has been upfront with you. Because someone finds members of both genders attractive does not mean the person is incapable of monogamy. During the last two years, he has given you no reason to believe he is untrustworthy, so take steps to deal with your insecurity and take him at his word.

DEAR ABBY: My son and daughter-in-law — the parents of three minor children — were divorced in 2019. Prior to their divorce, the ex-DIL got pregnant by another man. She has since had a little girl. My dilemma is, do I include the new little girl when they come to visit Grandma? She is still my grandchildren's half-sister. As they get older and come to visit me, I would feel bad leaving her out of events.

My son is livid that I would even consider including her. Her other grandparents refuse to have anything to do with her. How do I deal with this? — DILEMMA IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR DILEMMA: You have a loving heart. I assume all the children live together with their mother. To exclude their half-sister would be logistically difficult and cruel to a child who is blameless. Your son may not like the situation, but it is time for him to grow up and face reality. You are the only grandmother that child has ever known, so remain calm, assert your right to self-determination and refuse to allow yourself to be bullied or intimidated.

DEAR ABBY: Unfortunately, I am not in the same income bracket as my family and some of my friends. Also, I married a guy who doesn't like to socialize because he's a recovering alcoholic, and he also has hearing problems. Family and friends rarely ask us to join them when they go out, but they never fail to call and tell me all about the great time they had and where they plan to go next. It hurts, and I resent them for it. I want to be happy for them and not feel the way I do. Help! — DIFFERENT IN NEW YORK

DEAR DIFFERENT: Your husband may have hearing problems, but your relatives appear to be tone deaf in the sensitivity department. What they are doing is cruel.

Rather than compare your life to that of friends and relatives who have more freedom to socialize than you and your husband do, it would be more constructive to figure out what you CAN do. Socialize either with others or by yourselves in places that don't serve alcohol and aren't overly noisy. Ask your relatives to join you there — and put the ball in their court.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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DEAR ABBY: Marriage is considered to be imperative in my religion and culture. I’m 29 and still not married. I have commitment and trust issues with guys. I have been in only three relationships my entire life.

Every time things are going well, I tend to self-sabotage and make excuses to push the guy away. I start arguments for no reason or create problems or issues that I fabricate out of thin air. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that my past relationships were toxic and tumultuous. They were cheaters and liars.

I have carried that baggage into my relationship with my new partner by not believing a lot of the things he says. For example, I doubt his feelings for me. When things are going smoothly between us, I always take five or 10 steps back. It isn’t fair that I put him through the wringer, but I don’t know any other way. How can I get past this continuous issue? -- PROBLEM TRUSTING IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR PROBLEM TRUSTING: The most effective way to do that would be to talk about this destructive pattern with a licensed mental health adviser. If you do, it may help you rid yourself of the “baggage” you are carrying, understand why you chose the men you did before, and make it easier to evaluate any new relationships that start to develop.

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DEAR ABBY: I have known my friend “Matt” for more than 20 years. We’ve been close for most of those years.

Matt is gay, and early in our friendship, we had a mutual friend, “Gary,” who used a gay epithet often, even though he knew Matt is gay. It hurt Matt, but he wasn’t comfortable speaking to Gary about it, so I did. Gary not only apologized to Matt but to this day (some 18 years later), I haven’t heard Gary say that word in our company.

Recently, Matt has started using the N-word. I have told him that not only is it disgusting and offensive, but I compared it to the situation with Gary. Matt laughed it off and continues to use the word with no regard for me. I have started spending less time with him because of it because I don’t want him to think I condone his racist language. Is it time to sever ties with Matt? -- DISAPPOINTED IN MARYLAND

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: I think so. The next time Matt uses the N-word, make clear to him that if you ever hear it from him again, your friendship will be OVER. And then follow through.

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DEAR ABBY: I feel horrible about my “first time.” It was with my boyfriend, and it happened in the back seat of his car. I had always dreamed of my first time being special, but after realizing we didn’t have many options, we decided the car was fine. Now I feel ashamed and guilty. Can you advise me? -- NOT LIKE I IMAGINED IN TEXAS

DEAR NOT: I will try. When did your first time happen? Last weekend? Last month? Last year? Whenever it was, it is in the past. Experience teaches us what works for us and what doesn’t. Learn from it, but don’t preoccupy yourself with regret over something you can’t change.

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)


1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106; 816-581-7500

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DEAR ABBY: I need help moving past the end of a longtime friendship. I don't know what happened. My friend, my former college roommate, just drifted away.

After school we continued to be friends -- not besties, but we would meet for coffee or dinner a few times a year. Fast-forward 25 years. She called me the day she left her husband, 10 years ago, to tell me the news. I was her emotional lifeline for a few days, and it was intense. We continued to be in touch a few times a year.

Then, a few years ago, I sent a message suggesting we meet soon. She replied that she was busy but would get back to me about a date, but she never did. I waited six months and again suggested we meet. She replied that she had a conflict but would let me know a date that would work. She didn't do it. I didn't reach out again and haven't heard from her since. It has been three years, and I know through other sources she is doing well.

I'm having difficulty dealing with being dropped after a 30-year friendship. I can't think of anything I did to cause it, and I don't understand how a friendship like that can just be kaput. What do you think? -- DISAPPOINTED IN WASHINGTON

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: I find it interesting that when this woman was in turmoil, she reached out to you. However, after her marriage and the emotional dust-up that surrounded it, I suspect she may have decided to close that chapter of her life.

You stated that the two of you didn't stay in contact other than "a few times a year." Think back. Did she contact you only when she needed emotional support? If that's the case, recognize the relationship for what it was. Now that she is doing well, she may be firmly focused on the present rather than the past, and frankly, although it may sting, I think you should do the same.


DEAR ABBY: I am the youngest of three. My brother is the eldest. Our sister died of cancer 20 years ago.

It breaks my heart that he and his wife can’t seem to decide whether they like me or not. Sometimes they are warm and inviting, but for most of my life they’ve been cold, critical and distant. They create imaginary problems, blame me for them and then keep me on the outs until they decide to forgive and forget. I’ve spent many hours crying about this.

I have finally reached the point where I refuse to be hurt any longer and have chosen not to engage with them anymore. It has been nearly a year since we’ve had contact. My husband sympathizes with me and recognizes their behavior as odd and hurtful. However, he believes I should reach out once more because my brother is my only living sibling. I’m fearful that if I do, I’ll be hurt once again. Your advice is greatly needed. -- UNDECIDED IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR UNDECIDED: Your husband is a kind and forgiving man who has not experienced the pain your brother and his wife have subjected you to with their mind games. Your brother may be your only living sibling, but it is an accident of birth. He is incapable of the kind of relationship you would like to have had with him. Having been hurt repeatedly, you are right to be fearful. You will shed fewer tears if you continue keeping your distance.

DEAR ABBY: I am a widower. I lost my wonderful wife of 35 years to heart disease eight years ago. I have had no relationships with women since then.

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a very nice woman, “Yvonne.” She’s 11 years younger and has never been married. We see each other socially and enjoy each other’s company. We are both retired, have our own money and neither of us is interested in marriage.

My son and daughter, both married with children, are split in their opinions about this. My son is happy for me, but my daughter thinks Yvonne is too young for me and wonders why she never married. Some of my friends actually side with my daughter.

At our ages, I don’t think an 11-year difference is a big deal. Why Yvonne stayed single is none of anyone’s business. Since her mother’s death, my daughter has been protective of me. Am I wrong for enjoying the company of this woman after so many years alone? -- LONELY WIDOWER IN ARIZONA

DEAR WIDOWER: No, you are not wrong. If you and Yvonne enjoy each other, you are both unencumbered and entitled to it. Eleven years is not too great an age difference. Your daughter seems to be more possessive than protective. Seeing you with a woman other than her late mother -- regardless of age -- may be what’s really bothering her.

If you want to allow your friends to run your life, I can’t stop you. But I see no reason why you should allow them to dampen your enjoyment if all they can find wrong with Yvonne is her age. (Could any of these “friends” be jealous or closely tied to your late wife?)

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


Problems dear abby relationship

DEAR ABBY: My sister “Darby” and I are in our 20s and confused about the relationship she is in. She’s 23 and has been dating a 22-year-old man. They fight a lot because he can’t stop talking about her ex-boyfriend. He says he visualizes her having sex with him, and is frustrated with himself for not being able to get the images out of his head. Is there a name for this particular problem, and how can Darby work with it? -- SUPPORTIVE SIS IN THE WEST

DEAR SIS: Yes, actually, there are two names for this “condition.” They are obsession and jealousy, and both are signs of potential control issues. Stay close to your sister and be there for her, because this young man’s behavior is a red flag.

Darby and her boyfriend are both adults. I assume neither came to the relationship wrapped in cellophane. His fixation should not be hers (or yours) to fix. Because he can’t get the images out of his head, he should schedule a few sessions with a licensed psychotherapist, since his problem will continue the longer he is in the dating world.

Dear Abby

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DEAR ABBY: I moved in with my boyfriend six years ago. A year ago, his adult daughter decided she would have all her internet purchases sent to his home. Abby, these packages arrive every day, all week long. I’m tired of it. I think she’s a spend-aholic.

I told him at the beginning of our relationship that I would never come between him and his daughter. But it has become a bit much. She calls him for every little thing. Now she has started asking him to help with his granddaughter’s homework. I have two adult children of my own and grandchildren. Am I overreacting? I’m ready to move out and on. -- OVER IT AND OUT

DEAR OVER IT: Before moving out and on, discuss this with your boyfriend of six years. His daughter seems to be unusually dependent for an adult. Is there a reason why she’s doing these things? Could she be fearful that the packages she’s ordering could be stolen from her porch? Does her daughter need more help academically than she is able to provide? The answers to those questions could be enlightening. After you get those answers, there will be time to make a rational (rather than emotional) decision about the status of the relationship you have with her father.

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DEAR ABBY: I am a 52-year-old single, straight male. For some reason, only men seem to be attracted to me. If I sit at a table in a restaurant or bar, a man will come over and sit next to me. If I go to the park, a man will sit next to me on the bench. Walking down the street, random men approach me. It’s terrible. I’m straight! Please help! -- UNIQUE PROBLEM IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR UNIQUE PROBLEM: Because you’re not meeting women, try to put yourself in situations where you will meet them. Because you are consistently approached by men and you’re not interested, consider asking them if they have a female relative who’s single. And when you encounter a woman you think you can click with, speak up and introduce yourself.

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

** ** **

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

(EDITORS: If you have editorial questions, please contact Sue Roush, [email protected])


1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106; 816-581-7500

Dear Abby 영어공부 - #20 \

DEAR ABBY: I have been on and off with a man for two years. In all this time, he has never spent a holiday or Valentine's Day with me, or introduced me to his family or friends. He told me to stay in the bathroom at his office when his friends showed up unexpectedly. When I objected, he said, "It's only for 20 minutes." I was horrified.

He accuses me of picking fights and says I will never be happy with anyone when I try to talk with him about it. He breaks up with me at holiday time, never calls when he's on vacation and our dates are always last minute. I realize he is using me for sex, but he insists I am wrong and he is a decent man.

Two birthdays passed, and he didn't even wish me a happy birthday, yet he buys presents and cards for every occasion for his friends and family. He blocks my number if I don't "behave properly." He calls me "Miss" in public, but calls waitresses "Sweetie" the few times we have gone out.

Narcissistic and emotionally abusive? Am I wrong? He tells me no one will stay with me once they know the type of woman I am. I'm not always at fault like he wants me to believe. He buys me nothing to drink or eat when we are together. I pay my own way. I regret the day he entered my life. How can I make him see what he does is wrong? -- ALMOST DONE IN NEW YORK

DEAR ALMOST DONE: This shameless man may never view what he has been doing as wrong, so don't try to "make" him see anything. End this sorry excuse for a relationship now, because it is degrading, a waste of your time, and it's very likely that he is married and cheating on his wife.


Now discussing:

Dear Abby: Relationship stalls after move

My boyfriend, "Mark," and I have been together for a year. We met at work, and have dated ever since. Several months ago we were offered a job opportunity in another state. We moved in together and are happy.

My problem is, over the past few months we have been living together, our personal relationship has come to a halt. We still care about each other deeply but no longer do the things couples do. We don't go out on dates or see the new city we've moved to.

Do you have any advice on how I can get Mark to go out and see the sights without sounding whiny or pushy?

— Baltimore and D.C. Beckon

Tell Mark the two of you appear to have become housebound and you don't think it's healthy – particularly because Baltimore and Washington, D.C., have many entertainment and cultural opportunities to offer. Then create a "bucket list" and have him choose from the menu of choices that are available. If that doesn't inspire him, ask him to create a list, or start exploring on your own.

If you are successful at getting Mark out of the house, it might liven up your relationship. But if it doesn't, you might have more serious problems to deal with, and a heart-to-heart talk with him about your entire relationship is in order.

Son sprang guests on mom

My son's birthday was yesterday. I invited him to dinner at a very nice restaurant. When he showed up, he had two other men with him. They didn't offer to pay for their food, so I had to pay for all of us.

My son is 32, and I would like to say something about this to him. Or should I just not invite him to nice dinners out?

— Taken Advantage of

in Sugarland, Texas

No. Say something to him. And when you do, it should be something like this: "Son, springing unexpected guests on your host is bad manners. You should have asked permission first. I was appalled that your friends didn't offer to share the expense. Please don't do that again because if you do, I'll stop inviting you."

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at


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