Partner’s affair sparked by perceived lack of affection

Published 9:06 am Monday, January 23, 2023

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DEAR ABBY: I’m in a three-year relationship, but my significant other, “Ron,” is extremely cautious about emotional attachment. It took him two years to tell me he loves me or even to express any form of serious affection. In addition, he’s consumed by his job and worries about how his co-workers perceive him. He seems to prioritize work relationships over our relationship.
Because I have been depressed by the meager affection he shows me, I began an intimate relationship with a former co-worker, “Dan.” Dan expresses no reservations or restraint in his feelings for me. He makes me feel appreciated, beautiful and loved.
I have strong feelings for them both and realize I have created a horrible situation. I don’t want to abandon a stable, caring relationship that was cultivated over three years, and I’m terrified that ending the relationship in favor of one with Dan would be something I’ll regret later. But I’m unwilling to break things off with Dan. I’d appreciate any advice. — TWO-TIMER ON THE EAST COAST

DEAR ‘TWO-TIMER’: I’ll try. Because your relationship with Ron left you feeling so empty that you went looking for solace in another man’s arms, ask yourself whether you really love Ron or just the challenge of getting him to finally commit to you. You are unwilling to give Dan up because he gives you affection and validation, which are vital in a long-term relationship.
Recognize that you are cheating on both men, which is fair to neither one — and do not think that Ron won’t find out. If you want to spend your life with an emotionally unavailable workaholic, do the honorable thing and break up with Dan. If what you have been getting from Dan is more important to you, well, you know the drill.
DEAR ABBY: My oldest daughter recently had her first child. She sent out christening invitations a month early after clearing the date with the godparents, church and venue.
My youngest adult daughter, who has two children and lives nearby, declined the invite. (She is not the godparent.) Her reason was that she and her family had tickets to a ballgame on the same day as the christening. I suggested that only she attend and have another relative go to the game in her place, but was told she should be at the game with her family. Your thoughts? — PRIORITIES IN FLORIDA

DEAR PRIORITIES: My first thought is that your younger daughter ranks her love of sports above her love for her sister. My second thought is that her priorities are out of whack. Could there be bad blood between them? Long after that ballgame is over and forgotten, the memory of her absence at that important family event will be remembered by the relatives she snubbed.
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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