DEAR ABBY: I have been with my husband for 29 years, 25 of them married. We have had good times and bad, like most couples, but over the last four years, things have changed. We came to a place where we both needed to decide whether we wanted to continue in our marriage. We went to counseling, and I pursued my own personal growth, trying new things I was interested in and finding gratitude and happiness in my interests and career. My husband did the same thing.
Now I have moved past it, forgiven, told my husband I love him and hope he feels the same. You know what he said? He said he doesn’t know. He said he needs more time. Frankly, it has already been a long time, and it’s upsetting to have to wait for him to make up his mind.
If I become frustrated, he says I don’t have to stay and I’m free to do what I want. Trouble is, I want my husband, and I want him to want me back. What do I do? I take good care of myself and have a healthy sex drive. Sex happens rarely, and I end up being rejected more often than not. He also had an emotional affair with a woman he knows, but he thinks I made too much of it. That was about 18 months ago. Help, please. – Uncoupling in Canada
DEAR UNCOUPLING: Going off and being independent may have been the wrong path to take. Your husband appears to have disconnected from you, both physically and emotionally. When he went off and “tried things he was interested in,” among the things he tried may have been the woman with whom he had the affair.
If you continue waiting for your husband to make up his mind, you could be sitting in limbo for years. You take care of yourself, have a healthy sex drive and are entitled to a life. Now may be time to make one for yourself.
DEAR ABBY: For the past year my sister has been involved with a guy she went to high school with. He moved in with her and her 4-year-old son.
Before he moved in, my sister, my mom and I had a pretty decent relationship. Since this boyfriend has come into the picture, our relationship has become strained. He doesn’t work, doesn’t like her son and she pays for everything (rent, food, car payments, etc.). Whatever he says, logical or not, she does it.
Recently, my nephew’s father reached out to me because she hasn’t let him see their son. When I asked my sister why, she had no reasonable explanation. I don’t know what to do at this point. She won’t even let the family see my nephew now. What should I do? – Mad in Maryland
DEAR MAD: Your sister’s boyfriend has succeeded in isolating her, and it is a very dangerous red flag. This is what abusers do, and you should worry not only about her, but also her son, whom the boyfriend doesn’t like. Could they be hiding the child because he has bruises?
As to the father of the boy, if he has been contributing financially for his son, he may, with the help of a lawyer, be able to exert enough influence to get his visitation back. Please suggest it.
For now, all you can do is tell your sister you are concerned for her well-being because she is carrying the whole load. Tell her you are also concerned for the child and that no matter what, you love them both and will be there for them. She needs to hear it. And if necessary, contact child protective services.