Absent husband to one woman is absent boyfriend to another

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, December 29, 2021

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DEAR ABBY: I have been with my boyfriend for eight years. When I met him he was married, but his wife lived in another state. Although he said he loved her, he would visit her only for a week every other month or so. While he was there, instead of concentrating on her he spent most of his time visiting his friends.
He never intended to leave her for me, but she found out about us a year ago and told him she wanted a divorce. It became final a few months ago. He tells me he loves me every day, but he still spends a lot of time with his friends. We used to be together two or three days a week; we are down to one night most weeks, and occasionally two nights.
I don’t think he looks forward to our time together the way I do. I’m afraid if I have a heart-to-heart conversation with him about this, he will walk away from our relationship. I am terrified of being alone, so I settle for waiting for my turn.
During the COVID quarantine, we kept to social distancing for several weeks, until I felt we had been isolated long enough that we could be together again. Tonight, he joined some friends for a social gathering, knowing it would compromise what I had worked so hard for so we could be together. Abby, it feels like he cares less for me than for his friends. Am I fighting a losing battle to stay with someone who seems so cavalier about our relationship? — LEFT OUT IN WASHINGTON

DEAR LEFT OUT: Do you not recognize that you have created the very situation you fear the most? You ARE alone! This man isn’t going to give you anything more than you are already getting from him, which is very little. This isn’t a losing battle you are fighting; the battle is over. He has made clear where his priorities lie, and they don’t include you. If you really want a companion, find someone who is willing to share his life with you to the extent that you are willing to share yours with him. This man isn’t the one.
DEAR ABBY: For the past week, my son-in-law has been texting me daily. I don’t mind his texting about normal things, but he’s either seeking a very close friendship or he is attracted to me. He and my daughter are 22 and very religious. I don’t think asking me via text how he looks shirtless now compared to a year ago (he has texted me twice with no shirt on) is appropriate.
There have been other red flags on his side of the conversation, and I have never misled him in any way. Should I confront him via text? Should I tell my daughter? I love her and do not want her to be mad at me. I did nothing wrong. — ONLY HIS MOTHER-IN-LAW

DEAR M.I.L.: I believe you. If your son-in-law’s texts are suggestive or make you uncomfortable, speak up and tell HIM — not your daughter. If he persists in that vein, discuss it with her then. As to his request for a comment on his physique, ask him why he’s asking his mother-in-law and not his wife. And follow it up by telling him frankly that you think the question and the photos are inappropriate.
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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