Old friends in new romance adapt to unfamiliar dynamic

Published 8:12 am Friday, January 28, 2022

DEAR ABBY: I’m in a new relationship with a man I have known for 30 years. We had our own lives, married others, had kids and then split with our spouses. After all this time, we have finally gotten together and discovered we were made for each other. Neither of us has experienced this intense kind of love before.
My problem is that although he tells me often that he loves me and cannot see his life without me, he never compliments me — whether I’m dressed up, or just putting on makeup and looking special. I compliment him all the time.
I have low self-esteem and insecurities due to previous abusive relationships. It’s not like I want to hear it constantly, but it would be nice to hear it at least once in a blue moon. Also, there are times I don’t think he finds me sexy or attractive. How can I express this without embarrassing us both? — NEEDS VALIDATION IN NEW ENGLAND

DEAR NEEDS: Have you told this man what you have expressed to me — that it’s hurtful that when you make an extra effort to look nice for him, he seems to ignore it? Is he aware that you suffer from low self-esteem because of previous emotionally abusive relationships?
Honest communication is important, particularly in new relationships, as well as those between partners who have known each other for a long time although not on an intimate level. While the two of you are basking in the flowering of this unexpected passion, you still have to get to KNOW each other.
How he reacts to the conversation and whether he’s willing to put forth some extra effort will tell you everything you need to know about a future with him.
DEAR ABBY: My husband passed away three years ago. We were together for one month shy of 32 years, married for the last 16 of them. I was so happy and proud to be “Mrs. P.” Since his passing, people have started calling me Miss P., and I’m very upset about it. Abby, my husband died. I am a widow! I’m NOT divorced, and I’m NOT single. I’m still married — at least in my heart and mind I am.
Why do people think it’s OK to call a widow “Miss” just because her husband is gone? And before you ask, yes, I have mentioned it to them, but some of them keep saying it. Truthfully, I feel like doing what the old AT&T commercial used to say and “reach out and touch someone” (lightly) on the jaw when they do it. Thank you for letting me vent. What do you think about this? — MRS. P. FOR LIFE

DEAR MRS. P.: The term “Miss” applies to a woman who has never married. You have earned your “stripes.” If you prefer to be called Mrs. P., that is your privilege. Those who are considerate of your feelings will respect your wishes and extend that courtesy. Give anyone who chooses to ignore your wishes a final warning and, if the person continues to address you as “Miss,” give them a wide berth.
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.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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