Grieving friend produces off-the-wall accusations

Published 11:16 am Monday, April 22, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: I am a happy, decidedly single woman with a large group of friends who are all married. Most of us grew up together, and all of us have been like extended family for the past 25 years. 

This year, one of the wives lost three family members within three months. This has been devastating to her, of course, as well as to all of us as we watch her struggle to regain her footing in this new reality. I know firsthand the pain she’s living with. 

My problem is, she has started accusing me of having an affair with her husband. Nothing could be further from the truth! I’m torn between trying to remember she is angry and lashing out from her losses and being deeply insulted and angry at her. 

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I have done nothing inappropriate, nor has her husband. I am shocked that she could think such a thing. We see each other often, and I don’t know how to treat her. – FRIEND OR FOE IN NEW YORK


DEAR FRIEND OR FOE: I am concerned for your friend. Are you sure she doesn’t have other emotional or marital problems besides her grief? That she would accuse you of having an affair with her husband when nothing of the sort is happening could be a clue that something is wrong … with her. 

Treat her with kindness and suggest that she should talk with a marriage counselor if she feels something has gone wrong in her marriage, because if it’s true, it has nothing to do with you.


DEAR ABBY: Any suggestions on how to motivate a husband? We’ve been happily married for 35 years. Now he does nothing but read, eat and sleep. I’m not exaggerating. He started reading about 15 years ago when our boys were teenagers. He was an active parent, Boy Scout leader, baseball coach, umpire, volunteer in the church, got his masters, and took a high-energy exercise program, etc. But then he discovered fantasy fan fiction, free stories on the internet written by unpublished authors. 

He now reads 16 to 18 hours a day on weekends, plus 10 hours each day during the week. He does nothing else – no exercise, no house maintenance, nothing. When I asked if he’s depressed, he said no, he’s just tired and wants to relax. He has regular medical checkups; nothing abnormal there. His career is not high stress – it’s office work. 

I cannot get him to socialize, and he no longer keeps up with his friends. All he looks forward to is retiring in about a year, but I don’t want him to retire just to see him read more. This is making for a very lonely marriage. I am unable to motivate him to do anything. – MOTIVATED IN THE EAST


DEAR MOTIVATED: It is time for a frank conversation with your husband. Ask him what he’s using the fan fiction bingeing to escape from. Point out that the lifestyle he has adopted isn’t healthy for him or for your marriage. Proceed from there to find out if a compromise would be workable.


DEAR READERS: At sundown, the first night of Passover begins. This major Jewish holiday celebrates the most momentous event in Jewish history – the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. Happy Passover to my readers who observe this important holiday. – LOVE, ABBY


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.)