Woman doesn’t like the vibe she senses from her husband

Published 8:29 am Wednesday, December 20, 2023

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DEAR ABBY: My husband is desperate for women’s attention, and I’m sure he’d cheat on me the instant he had the chance. We have been together for 12 years. When we met, he was 24 and I was 31. I realize now that while I have had four long-term relationships and a fair share of sexual partners, my husband has had little sexual experience outside of our relationship.
Any time he’s around women, whether I am there or not, he makes it a point to strike up a conversation or gain their attention. It doesn’t matter if they’re young or old, attractive or not. He has fostered many “friendships” with women I don’t know, like gas station attendants or his employer’s office staff.
He swears he has never cheated, and I have never found any solid proof other than pornography. I just can’t shake this feeling that he needs or wants to experience other women, and I don’t know what to do. Please help. – MORE EXPERIENCED IN SOUTH DAKOTA

DEAR MORE EXPERIENCED: If you haven’t talked with your husband about this, do it now. Your husband may not be a wannabe philanderer as much as a plain old-fashioned flirt. People of both sexes need validation, particularly if their self-esteem isn’t the highest. You won’t know what’s really driving him unless you can discuss it. If necessary, a marriage and family therapist may be able to help the two of you communicate on a non-threatening level.
DEAR ABBY: When I met my boyfriend, it felt perfect. I thought I had found my soul mate. When I met his family, we got along well and spent more and more time together. I was 28; he was 31. We lived an hour away from his parents, and even though we were there every weekend and sometimes twice a week, his mom began complaining that she didn’t get to see him enough.
His sister, who is my age, grew increasingly jealous. I had just lost my younger brother and was grieving when she began lashing out at me regularly. She’s extremely controlling of my boyfriend and me, demanding we do whatever she says and go wherever she wants us to go, including when we are allowed to leave.
She has no respect for any polite or firm boundaries we set, swearing and becoming hysterical and hostile almost every time we interact. She has “kicked me out” of the family gathering, which led to my being completely unwelcome. She tries to gaslight everyone and uses a lot of manipulation tactics to convince others I’m the problem, not her.
Now her husband and her parents lash out at me even at my boyfriend’s expense. What is most depressing is that he sides with them because they’re “family,” and it’s his role or he’s the problem. This wore my boyfriend and me out, so I removed myself from the situation and moved to another state with my sister. Is there any chance we can have a peaceful future? – ‘IN-LAW’ DRAMA IN TEXAS

DEAR DRAMA: No, there is not. Unless you enjoy being abused, the family dynamic you described was extremely unhealthy. You did the right thing to extricate yourself. If a peaceful future is what you’re looking for, keep looking.
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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