Relationship with younger partner collapses bitterly

Published 8:41 am Monday, May 13, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: I am a middle-aged gay man who has never had any serious relationships. A few months ago, I met a 22-year-old guy. He seemed really sweet and nice, and we had good times when we were together, so I let him use me for money. He played on the feelings I thought I had for him, and I think I still do.

The other night, I caught him lying to me again and went off the deep end. He ended up blocking my number, so I know he’s not getting my text messages. I have called him at least 100 times and it goes straight to voicemail. Must I just chalk it up as “lesson learned” and try to go on? 

I doubt I will ever forget him. I know I need to go on with my life. He’s in my head right now and it’s difficult. If it were to happen, I can’t go back to him the way we were. Although this may sound stupid and immature, I think I fell in love with him. I’m not sure. He hurt me badly because I let him use me. Thank you for any advice you can offer. – TRICKED IN TENNESSEE

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DEAR TRICKED: I’m sorry you’re hurting but, yes, you should chalk this up as a lesson learned. You stated you’ve never had a serious relationship. If you would like to pursue one, meeting someone closer to your age with whom you have more in common would be beneficial. Check in at your nearest LGBTQ community center and sign up for an activity or event and you may meet someone. I wish you luck.


DEAR ABBY: I am a caregiver for my elderly diabetic mother and my disabled husband, who is an alcoholic and also epileptic. Every single household responsibility falls on me — cleaning, upkeep, shopping, driving, food preparation, etc. My mother refuses to eat right for her medical condition. It’s a daily struggle. I keep everything on hand to make it easy for her, but I still have to beg and plead. 

I am not well. I have several autoimmune diseases that zap my strength. I love my mom and my husband, but this has taken every bit of joy from my life. My mother doesn’t have dementia – she’s very aware of what she is doing. 

As for my husband, his love for me will never come close to his love of alcohol. He is never abusive, but I have never felt so overwhelmed and alone at the same time. There are no siblings to help, and my children live out of state. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep what is left of my sanity? – OVERWORKED IN VIRGINIA


DEAR OVERWORKED: Yes, I do, but you may not like what I have to say. It’s time to quit trying to “save” your mother and your husband from the fates they have chosen. Your mother is an adult and in possession of her faculties. Let her assume responsibility for herself and her treatment. (Or not – also her choice.) 

As to your husband’s alcoholism, join Al-Anon and start attending meetings. Only he can fix his drinking problem IF HE WANTS TO. Ruining your health trying to help people who don’t want to be helped may be well-intentioned, but it is also misguided.


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.


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.)