Family fails to be there when needed most

Published 8:28 am Thursday, January 18, 2024

DEAR ABBY: Somehow I became the go-to person for everyone in my family – siblings as well as parents. I have the means, and for decades, I have been happy to help. I recently lost a brother, and I assumed the people I’ve been there for would be there to support ME.
Abby, they ALL failed. Two didn’t show up at all, and two came and left so fast my head spun. It was a two-part ceremony. My gathering was the first. I was so hurt I didn’t want to go to the second gathering, but I wanted to honor my brother, so I went. Bad decision. My deceased brother had one enemy, and that person was invited to speak and ruined it ALL for me.
My husband was so upset he told my family off and said that I had been crying for days. No one cared enough to contact me to clear things up. Instead, they doubled down and called me selfish for needing them to be there for me.
Now I’m hurt and upset, and I have no family to turn to. Honestly, it’s nothing new, but I think I’m so hurt because I feel this is the end of family functions forever. What do you think? — FULL OF EMOTION

DEAR FULL: I am sorry for your loss. Because you have been the family rescuer and in return were treated with disrespect and indifference, you have every right to be upset. I hope that in the future you will begin to develop relationships with people who show some reciprocity. Because you appear to come from a family of “takers,” enlarging your circle will give you a better chance of having healthier (not to mention more rewarding) relationships. PLEASE consider it.
DEAR ABBY: I met a woman online from out of state, and we hit it off. We dated for three years before she moved here and we were married. At that time, she was estranged from her family. She recently started to repair her relationship with a daughter and would visit her. Our marriage had been showing a few cracks as her emotional state was growing worse due to her loneliness. She worked from home, and I worked some overtime to supplement our income.
With my blessing, she has since moved to her daughter’s state to be near her grandkids. I do not want to travel to keep a marriage going. I’m too old to do that. She has medical issues, so she benefits from my insurance.
We’ve been married only a year and a half. If I bring up a divorce because of the travel and the fact that we have grown apart, I’m afraid she’ll ask for half my pension that I’ve worked my whole life for. What do you advise? – FEELING STUCK IN MISSOURI

DEAR FEELING STUCK: I urge you to discuss this matter with a family law attorney licensed to practice in the state of Missouri. I’m not a lawyer (obviously), but from where I sit on the West Coast, it appears your wife DESERTED you when she moved away to be closer to her daughter, and your marriage has died in its infancy. I wish you luck. (Please let me know how this turns out.)
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.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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