Love interest raises eyebrow at man’s shifts in behavior

Published 8:17 am Friday, December 10, 2021

DEAR ABBY: A few months ago, I started dating a widower. He is a really great guy, and he seems perfect for me. I’m divorced, and my adult children live in other states. We have many shared interests and have a lot of fun together.
I noticed early on that he is very emotional, but occasionally, he seems to have manic episodes where he works himself nearly to death, doesn’t eat or sleep much and then abruptly leaves. When we talk afterward, he picks on me for really trivial — or untrue — things. I know bipolar disorder isn’t simple to diagnose, and I don’t think this issue has ever come up with him. I just wonder if this relationship has a chance.
His first marriage ended in divorce, and his children want nothing to do with him. Evidently, his second marriage was good, but she died last year. His youngest son is in college. My self-esteem isn’t tied to this. I enjoy his company 95% of the time, and I think I love him. I don’t plan to ever remarry and neither does he. I don’t think he is dangerous, but I am a no-drama type, so I’m wondering if I should let him go, even though it would be hard to do. — SEEING SIGNS IN MICHIGAN

DEAR SEEING SIGNS: If what you have written is accurate, you have seen this man only during his “highs” — but not during his lows. Because bipolar illness can be treated, IF the person is willing to admit they “may” have a problem, it would be wise to discuss this with him when he’s in a normal phase and suggest that he be screened. If he refuses, then might be the time to rationally (rather than emotionally) decide whether to let him go.
DEAR ABBY: I have two beautiful daughters from a previous marriage. My ex and I get along well (better as friends than partners) and do things as often as possible with the girls, which includes travel. We usually take one to two trips a year. The girls love it, and so do we.
I am now remarried. My wife has a hard time with the traveling, and we have had many fights about it. She would like both families to travel together, but my girls don’t want that. My ex’s mom has just booked a trip to Hawaii and is willing to pay for me to go. My wife said absolutely not because Hawaii is such a paradise.
I’m torn because these trips are the only real quality time I have with the girls. There is absolutely nothing going on between my ex and me. The girls would rather travel with their mom than anyone else. What should I do? — PACKED AND READY

DEAR PACKED: How long have you been remarried? And how old are your girls? Although they may enjoy the fantasy of their parents being a happy family, that is all it is — a fantasy.
It’s wonderful that you and your ex-wife enjoy an amicable relationship, but the time has come for you to stand up for the woman to whom you are presently married. She should have been welcomed on those trips right after the two of you made it official, and you should have made that clear. I don’t blame your wife for being upset at this point. I would be, too. You should encourage your wife to come, too — and devote some time to being with her.
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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