Years spent apart stretch marriage to breaking point

Published 5:28 pm Saturday, September 5, 2020

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my husband for 12 years. He retired from the Army before I met him, and I currently serve, stationed overseas.
When we first met, I thought we had an understanding that because he didn’t have to work, he would follow me and my three children wherever the military takes us. He doesn’t like to get “tied down,” and I don’t do too well with long-distance relationships. He developed a love for golf, which takes him touring all over the world.
Now that it’s just the two of us and the children are grown, I thought we would never be apart. Well, we’ve been apart for the four years that I’ve been stationed away from him, and I am tired of it. He’s a good man but set in his ways. I have another 10 years before I retire, and I don’t want to waste the best years of my life being lonely.
We haven’t slept together in seven months, and even when he visits, we are not on the same emotional level. I plan to divorce him, which I have alluded to twice before, and now is my chance to follow through. Should I? — SERIOUSLY DEBATING
DEAR DEBATING: Because you are unwilling to accept the way your husband is, and he is unwilling to spend time working on your marriage, you should follow through. Contact an attorney and get the process started.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I recently found out that we are expecting our second “oops” baby. We are thrilled, but I’m deeply concerned about one thing. My husband’s brother and his wife are a few weeks away from completing their first round of IVF. I’m beside myself trying to think of ways to be as sensitive as possible.
My husband says that, as both of these circumstances are beyond human control, there’s no need to worry, and we can reasonably expect everyone to be adult and understanding. But I understand the emotional toll taken by infertility is incredible, and I’m worried she’ll feel overlooked, or, worse, if the IVF isn’t successful, that she’ll regard our baby as a constant reminder. Please help! — UNEXPECTED IN TEXAS
DEAR UNEXPECTED: I applaud your appreciation of the emotional toll infertility can take on couples, which can be devastating. However, if your sister-in-law’s IVF is unsuccessful and you make your grand announcement afterward, the news will be doubly painful for her. This is why I vote for telling her quietly — before she receives the results — so she will be prepared regardless of what they are.
DEAR ABBY: I have had two partners now who, almost every morning, would regale me for 10 minutes about their nightly dreams. It drove me up the wall, but I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, so I sat and listened to their boring stories about flying or falling or my doing something bad. Would you please inform your readers that their dreams are their own and they do not interest other people? — DREAM-FREE IN WASHINGTON
DEAR DREAM-FREE: I have a better idea. YOU tell your future partners you would rather not hear about their dreams when they start regaling you. That way they won’t miss the message if they happen to skip my column today.
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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