Unhappy wife ponders life with a new beau

Published 8:27 am Friday, December 29, 2023

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DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my husband for 12 years. We have had our ups and downs. I was unfaithful at one point, and he left for eight months, but we worked through it all.
We are now coming out of another really rough patch involving a lot of arguing and talk of divorce. I’m having a hard time because around the time he left, I started falling out of love with him. I tried my best to be a good wife and do what I am supposed to, but this last bout of unpleasantness has left me feeling empty and no longer in love.
There is now someone in my life I have developed strong feelings for. I imagine a life with him and the thought of being with him excites me. My husband is a good person, but he’s an alcohol and drug addict. He has done EVERYTHING he can and is willing to do things he can’t to ensure I love him as much as he loves me, and that our marriage doesn’t end. He has been sober now for seven years, but habits and tendencies still remain.
The problems in our marriage are not all his fault. I have some things I also need to work on, and yet, I still imagine a life with another man. What should I do? – CONFLICTED IN TEXAS

DEAR CONFLICTED: Please discuss the state of your marriage (and your feelings) with a licensed marriage and family therapist. It might make sense for you and your husband to have a trial separation, because changing partners might not be what you hope it will be. It would give you the chance to find out whether the “excitement” you feel for this other man is real or the illusion of a woman who is unhappy. You have already been through so much, so please do nothing on impulse now.
DEAR ABBY: I am a retired widow. A new neighbor moved in next door. I have always been pleasant to her while she complains about everyone and everything, but it’s getting old. She watches for me to walk my dog, then runs outside to tell me her latest woe or complain about something. She has now begun ringing my doorbell and inviting herself inside for the same reasons.
Abby, I live in a small community. We are all close neighbors. I don’t know what to do about this woman. Can you suggest anything? I’m thinking about moving. – PRIVATE IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR PRIVATE: It appears your new neighbor is friendless, and for good reason. As I see it, there are a couple of things you can do to discourage her. The first would be, when you are trapped and she is complaining, to stop her and tell her you prefer to talk only about PLEASANT things. The second would be, when she rings your bell, to tell her you are busy and when you want company you will invite her over. Do NOT let her in.
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.
Good advice for everyone – teens to seniors – is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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