Wife withdraws from life she’s built over decades

Published 8:15 am Tuesday, April 2, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: After 28 years, my wife left me “to find herself.” She says she doesn’t want a divorce; she just needs time and space to work on herself, but she also wants to work on our marriage. She doesn’t want to talk, text or contact me. 

My question is, how are we supposed to work on our marriage with no contact? What am I supposed to do? I love her, but she’s avoiding me and everyone else, including her friends and family. All she wants to do is work and be alone in her apartment. – LONELY IN THE EAST


DEAR LONELY: When you asked how your wife plans to work on your marriage if you aren’t seeing each other or communicating (or utilizing marriage counseling), you asked a pertinent question. She cannot have it both ways, nor does she seem open to repairing what drove her to leave your marriage. 

Ask if she is interested in counseling. If she isn’t, PLEASE get a referral to a therapist for emotional support for yourself right now. If you do, you will more quickly be able to figure out what your next steps should be. 


DEAR ABBY: Two of my children contracted pink eye. We were assured by the doctor that after being on antibiotics for 24 hours, they would no longer be contagious. Feeling reassured, we isolated them for 24 hours and went about our plans to visit family as originally scheduled. 

I later learned that a few days after we left, three of my nephews, whom my sons played with often, all came down with pink eye. I have apologized, but I still feel guilty. We did everything the doctors recommended, yet we still gave it to others. Is there anything else I can do to make up for it? – PINK WITH GUILT


DEAR PINK: A large box of chocolates might sweeten the bitter aftertaste of your visit to that family. Or, go online and search for “Ice Cream of the Month Club.” If you do, you will find several companies that guarantee frozen deliveries nationwide. Include a message on the card, “Apologies for the pink eye.” (And be sure one of the flavors is strawberry to reinforce your sentiments.)


DEAR ABBY: I am a 14-year-old boy living with my parents. Due to religious constraints, I was not going to be allowed to date until I turned 16. That policy has recently changed, although my parents are still holding me to it. 

My problem is, there’s this girl. She’s my sister’s best friend. I met her when she came to hang out with my sister. I’m afraid if I wait, she’ll fall out of my life. Also, I am afraid that it will be awkward with my sister. What should I do? – LOVESICK IN UTAH


DEAR LOVESICK: Your parents are enforcing those rules and, at least for now, you need to abide by them. If this girl is friendly with your sister, she’s not going to drop out of your life. That’s why, if you are as smart as I think you are, you will make an effort to simply be “friends” with her. Just friends. If you do, as you get to know each other better, you may form a more lasting relationship than if you were to make a move on her now. I wish you luck.


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.


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