Girlfriend of three years learns the horrible truth

Published 8:30 am Monday, February 19, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: For nearly three years, I have been seeing a man who later asked me to move in with him. He abruptly stopped emailing me four months ago. I waited several weeks and then emailed him, telling him how upset and hurt I was and asking what was going on. I found out – NOT from him – that he has been in a relationship with another woman for the last five years. I am furious! I am at a loss about what I should do. – SHATTERED IN OREGON

DEAR SHATTERED: The man may have abruptly stopped communicating with you because the woman he has been involved with found out about the romance he was having with you. Have you heard from him since? (If not, she may have rendered him speechless.) It’s important you find a way to discharge some of your righteous anger. Believe it or not, physical exercise can help. Talking to friends or a therapist may also lessen the urge to explode. Learn whatever lesson there is to learn from this and move on. Do NOT let it rule your life. Everyone makes mistakes, and he was one.
DEAR ABBY: Without consulting me, my husband gave my father’s U.S. Army uniform to my brother complete with honor patches. My sister-in-law now wears it as a fashion statement, saying that she is a “Sullivan.” This is not sitting well with me. She is only a Sullivan by marriage.
I feel it is disgraceful to prance around in something you haven’t earned, and it’s insulting not just to my late father, but to all who have served. Her father also served, but she isn’t wearing his uniform. – DISRESPECTED IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR DISRESPECTED: Your husband should not have given YOUR brother the uniform without first consulting you because it wasn’t his property to give. What your SIL is doing with it seems less like a fashion statement and more like an example of “stolen valor,” which may be offensive to many people, particularly those who have served. It is not a crime by virtue of the fact that she isn’t impersonating a soldier. But it would be in better taste for her to wear her own father’s uniform rather than your dad’s.
DEAR ABBY: What’s the best way to deal with an “overgifter”? My friend of 10 years is one, often giving gifts beyond holidays and birthdays. Every time we hang out, she gives me something, either food or small trinkets. I asked her three years ago to tone it down. Two years ago, I sent her a letter saying I value our friendship and, for me, the best gift is quality time. She stopped for a while, but six months ago, she started up again.
Abby, I throw away all her gifts. They are usually stale or expired foodstuffs or trinkets I don’t have the space to store. I’m trying to find a way to make my boundaries clear. But I don’t want to hurt her feelings in the process. – TOO MUCH IN WASHINGTON

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DEAR TOO MUCH: Because your friend may have forgotten, remind her that you do not want her giving these gifts and that the most treasured gift she can give you is time with her. Explain that her continuing to do it is making you UNCOMFORTABLE. Then cross your fingers and hope that this time she gets the message. If she doesn’t, you will have to remind her yet again.
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.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)