After 25 years with girlfriend, man remains married to wife

Published 8:21 am Wednesday, June 5, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: I have been with my partner, “Hank,” for 25 years, but although he is legally separated, he is still married. We have lived together for 24 of these 25 years. He has two adult children with his wife. I used to be married and have two adult children with my ex-husband. Hank and I have one child together (now an adult), as well. 

Should I be concerned that he isn’t divorced? He keeps telling me he wants to, and I refuse to bug him about it because I don’t want him to think I’m nagging him. I love him and I know he loves me as well. Should I walk away after all this time, or should I nag him? – UNSETTLED IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR UNSETTLED: I don’t think you clearly understand what the fact that Hank is still legally married means for your own future. If something should happen to him, HIS WIFE, not you, will be making all medical decisions for her husband, including whether he can have visitors. She would be entitled to evict you from the house and keep the contents if his name is on the deed. She would be the one to decide what would happen to his remains. You would be left with nothing and no legal leg to stand on. 

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Please discuss this with a lawyer who can give you more detail about the horror story that may lie ahead. Once you understand all the implications, discuss this with Hank, who should formally do now what he should have done a quarter of a century ago.


DEAR ABBY: I live on a nice, quiet street. My three neighbors are elderly. The single gentleman next door is fighting pancreatic cancer. The other two men have been showing interest in his house “if anything happens.” One of them even went over for a visit acting like he was a friend. After a few minutes, he mentioned he’d be interested in the house if he was going to be selling it. I am very upset that he would be so nervy and insensitive as to approach this guy! I want to let him know how I feel. My wife says I need to let it go. And you, Abby? – HATES VULTURES IN ILLINOIS

DEAR HATES VULTURES: I will assume that you know about this because your next-door neighbor told you. While I agree that approaching the man took a lot of guts, it is possible that the approach wasn’t regarded as offensive. 

We don’t know what your neighbor’s estate plan involves or who will administer it in the event of his death. Knowing the name of the executor who will be handling matters after the inevitable happens would ease the process. That’s why I am advising you not to stir the pot. Your wife is right. You may wind up living next door to these people – unless someone outbids them.


DEAR ABBY: When my son was in the second grade, his teacher recommended counseling because she thought he was introverted. We blew her off. Decades later, we found out our son had been molested by a family member. It started when he was in the second grade. We are devastated and reeling from guilt. How do we move forward and help our son? – GRIEVING IN THE WEST

DEAR GRIEVING: You do now what you should have done when your son was in second grade and his teacher spotted a problem: Seek a referral to a licensed psychotherapist for ALL of you.


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.)