• 64°

Wife grapples with family’s history of sexual dysfunction

DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I were first married, I had no idea why his mother and sisters were so hostile. When they started treating our children the same way, my husband finally addressed the issue. We moved out of town, and he finally told me that when he was in his teens and early 20s, he had had sex with all of them, which was why they didn’t like me.
After an estrangement of many years, he has now started talking to his mother and sisters again. His mother is now in her 70s. It breaks my heart that he is talking to people he had sex with, but he says it is OK because they are “family.” In my opinion, he should have nothing to do with them. Please tell me how I need to handle things. — “ALL IN THE FAMILY”

DEAR “ALL IN”: You cannot control what another adult does. I sympathize with your feelings, and I agree your husband’s family situation was beyond unhealthy. However, from what you wrote, I get the impression that you would be equally upset if he were talking with ex-girlfriends. If your husband wants to talk to his relatives, he’s going to do it regardless of whether or not you find it threatening. My question to you would be, are you willing to tolerate it?
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DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend suffers from depression. She says she loves me, but there are times she won’t contact me for days because of it. During this most recent bout of depression, she hasn’t talked to me for a month.
I finally got fed up. I told her the next time she talks to me it should either be a breakup call or to give me an apology. Was I right to say that? I don’t know what to do. — UNSURE IN THE EAST

DEAR UNSURE: You say your girlfriend suffers from depression. Is she under the care of a doctor and receiving treatment for it? Is her family aware of the fact that when she cycles down she is incommunicado? If she’s so incapacitated that she can’t communicate, they should be notified so she can get the professional help she needs, including an adjustment in her medications if necessary.
I agree she owes you an apology, and I can’t fault you for telling her. But I would not recommend mentioning breaking up while she’s in a vulnerable mental state.
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DEAR ABBY: I am a 55-year-old successful businesswoman who has fallen in love with a man who has nothing. I would have to support him completely in retirement, but he is so lovable, so kind and so much fun. He does bring me great joy and happiness. What should I do — stay with him and take on the burden of his finances or just keep moving? — EYE TO THE FUTURE IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR EYE: You are a 55-year-old successful businesswoman. I assume you are asking me whether you should marry this man or not, even though you find him lovable, kind and fun to be with. People have valuable assets to offer besides money. However, before you make any trips to the altar, I suggest you have a chat with your attorney, just in case your assessment of him should change after the wedding.
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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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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