Woman anxious to avoid making the same mistakes

Published 8:29 am Tuesday, February 15, 2022

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, “Aaron,” and I have been together almost 10 years. We are both divorced from narcissistic spouses. We have discussed a future together and are working toward it. It’s taking so long because Aaron’s children are quite a bit younger than mine. (I’m an empty nester; his kids are just going into their teens.) I am also working on getting my career established.
We get along well and seem compatible in every way, but one thing bothers me: Aaron can be passive-aggressive. It isn’t often and it generally isn’t just over petty stuff, but when it happens it is very hurtful.
I’ve been going to counseling to resolve some issues from my childhood and first marriage, and recently realized I have some toxic traits I need to work on and heal. Unfortunately, some of that toxicity has spilled into my relationship with Aaron and hurt him. When it happens, he reacts passive-aggressively for a bit, then things seem to go back to normal.
What can I do to get over the hurt I feel when he acts this way? I don’t want to repay hurt for hurt. I want to break the cycle. — HEALING IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR HEALING: If your “toxicity” is what causes Aaron to react with what you interpret as passive-aggression, he could simply be nursing his wounds. Talk with your therapist about including Aaron in some of your sessions. If the therapist agrees, tell Aaron you think your relationship could be improved if he’s willing to go with you. If the therapist does NOT agree to the “joint” sessions, it might be worth your while to discuss couples counseling with another therapist.
DEAR ABBY: I’ve been seeing a married man for more than 30 years. Everything was fine between us until recently. I have begun to suspect one of my female neighbors is seeing him as well. I’m contemplating getting in touch with his wife and my neighbor’s husband and telling them about my suspicions.
I need to know what to do so this relationship with the neighbor will stop. I know by telling on
him, I’ll lose him, but if the neighbor is after him because of his money, I don’t want his wife thinking I’m the one taking it from him. What should I do? — NERVOUS IN TEXAS

DEAR NERVOUS: Despite the odds, you have been fortunate in having had a drama-free affair for 30 years. Because you have no proof that your lover is involved with someone else, it would cause less damage to everyone if you shared your suspicions with HIM. I guarantee that if you reveal your three-decade affair to his wife, you can kiss this romance goodbye. If the neighbor couple finds out you accused her, you will make enemies — particularly if your suspicions are not true.
I find it ironic that after helping your lover cheat for decades, you are now angry at him for cheating. I see nothing to be gained by creating a scandal to save your injured pride.
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.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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