Marriage of convenience has become inconvenient

Published 8:24 am Wednesday, July 5, 2023

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DEAR ABBY: Eighteen years ago, I married a man so he could get health insurance and have back surgery. It was supposed to be short-lived. He fell in love with me and wouldn’t leave.
He’s put me through hell over the years. Stage 4 tongue cancer left him unable to work, which I didn’t have an issue with. Then he started drinking and got a DUI. Because I was the sole provider, it cost me almost $10,000.
My husband is a complete SLOB and doesn’t care. He has a severe sleep disorder he refuses to address. Most days, he drinks all night and sleeps until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I finally moved out, but now he’s pestering me about when I’ll be back. What can I do? – TURNED THE PAGE IN ARIZONA

DEAR TURNED: Unless you want more of the same, DO NOT GO BACK. You have done enough of the heavy lifting. It’s now time to concentrate on what is good for YOU and what will make YOU happy. Because you no longer want to live with this person, consult an attorney about how to extricate yourself from a dysfunctional relationship, which should have ended as soon as he healed from his back surgery.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a 65-year-old female who has been divorced 15 years. I have no interest in dating. During the last couple of years, I have focused on my health, concentrating on diet and exercise, and I have lost 50 pounds.
Before I lost the weight, men seldom noticed me, which was fine with me. Lately, men have been looking at me, smiling and even flirting. Although this is a confidence booster, I don’t want to lead anyone on.
I know it may seem weird, but I’m afraid if someone asks me out, my facial expression and response might not be cordial. I don’t want to insult anyone. I believe if I memorize one or two polite, tactful responses I’ll be ready for the moment. Can you suggest how to politely turn down a man who shows interest in me? – STILL NOT INTERESTED IN IOWA

DEAR STILL NOT INTERESTED: Did your divorce leave you so disillusioned that you’re not even interested in a platonic male friendship? Although I think you will prevent yourself from having some rewarding relationships, a polite way to convey that you’re not interested would be: “Thank you for the compliment, but I’m off the market.”
DEAR ABBY: I need an attitude adjustment. My sporty, outdoorsy, Type A daughter, who is in her 30s, dates men who are (typically) wussy, milquetoast, dead-fish handshake individuals. She’s respectful toward them and doesn’t bully them, nor does she mother them, try to change them to “improve” them.
How can I be less critical of her choices, and how do I respond tactfully when she asks me for my impressions of her boyfriends? – TRYING TO CHANGE

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DEAR TRYING: Tell your daughter she doesn’t need your endorsement, and that if any of her suitors make her happy, you are happy for her. Then bite your tongue.
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.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)