Dear Abby: I just found out that my husband of 30 years is having an affair. When I confronted him, he said: “I have a girlfriend. I can’t imagine the rest of my life without girlfriends, so get over it!” Then he told me he has never been faithful, but that he loves me and would be devastated if I left. He considers his fooling around to be “safe and harmless escapades.”
Abby, my heart is broken. He has flaunted this woman in my face, and embarrassed and humiliated me in public. Now he’s angry with me because I told her husband what is going on.
How do I find the strength and courage to leave? I have some health issues and haven’t worked in years. What do I tell our kids? My world is crashing down around my ears.
In the South
Dear Heartbroken: Your husband’s “escapades” are neither safe nor harmless to YOU. His behavior is callous, hurtful and disrespectful.
It’s very important that you remain calm and do nothing in haste. You will be better able to weigh your options if you talk to an attorney and find out what you’re entitled to after having been married to this man for 30 years. And if you feel it would be helpful, find a licensed counselor to talk to.
Dear Abby: I’m a new husband, and things I thought I could tolerate before we were married are really bugging me now. I raised a daughter with another woman, and my current wife deleted every picture of her — from sonograms to her second birthday — and won’t let me keep anything of hers.
I understand she wants our lives to be about us, but I try to keep it separate and the resentments are starting to fester. I’d confront her, but she’s pregnant and has been extra emotional about me even leaving for work.
What do I do? Should I wait eight more months for the baby and then say something? I’m afraid I will snap before then.
Dear New Husband: I’m no doctor, but you and your wife need to consult one. She appears to be suffering from severe emotional problems. Her internist and gynecologist should be told what’s going on so she can start counseling and possibly medication to help her with her extreme insecurity. That she would have problems about you “even leaving for work” is not normal behavior, and you should waste no time in dealing with this.
Dear Abby: My sister “Beth” has a boyfriend, “Danny.” They have a 6-month-old baby girl. Neither one has a driver’s license, and they both have low-paying part-time jobs.
Beth expects us to baby-sit, take her to the doctor, etc. Mom is now starting to refuse to do more than baby-sit on Sunday, because she says Beth needs to get her license and look for a better job, and it won’t happen until she’s “pushed to the wall.” Only then will she realize she has to.
I agree, but I feel Beth and Danny should pursue their dreams. It takes money to get a license, and where we live there is no public transportation. What’s your take on this tug-of-war?
Dear Big Brother: Listen to your mother. The chances of your sister and her boyfriend attaining their dreams while working at low-paying part-time jobs are not great. What they need now is help in gaining their independence. While your mother may have put it in harsh terms, she has the right idea.
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.