DEAR ABBY: I’ve been separated from my wife for about four years, at her request. It was justified. I wasn’t the best husband. I wasn’t abusive, but I was sad and feeling sorry for myself, like now.
I took her for granted and didn’t show her the affection she deserved, but I have been going to therapy to work through issues that I had suppressed for decades that contributed to me being a bad husband. I wanted to try counseling with her, but she was done and refused, which I’m still saddened by.
As of today, she has a new boyfriend but still hasn’t filed for divorce. I’m struggling because she and her new boyfriend hang out with people I grew up with. It’s my own hang-up, I know, but it makes me feel embarrassed and like I can never hang out with my friends again. I get upset when I see posts on Facebook with her and her boyfriend that my family have added heart emojis or nice comments to.
Am I wrong for feeling betrayed in some way? Is my estranged wife belittling me by not filing for divorce and hanging out with my friends and a new boyfriend? Are my friends and family betraying me by being friends with them? — BROKEN BEYOND REPAIR
DEAR BROKEN: Marriages end for many reasons. If I read your letter correctly, your wife left because she could no longer cope with someone who was in a chronic state of depression, not because you were a “bad husband” or had some flaw in your character.
You are doing your best to improve your mental state, and for that I applaud you. You should not feel embarrassed or humiliated because she has found a new relationship. Please discuss these feelings with your therapist so you can move beyond them.
It may also be time to take the initiative and file for the divorce. Quit avoiding your longtime friends. If you haven’t started dating, some of them may know women to introduce you to. And because posts on the internet about your almost-ex and her boyfriend cause you pain, block or delete them rather than obsess.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend has an 8-year-old daughter who lives with us part time. Sometimes I watch her when her dad is out running errands or working.
I’ll be perfectly honest. There are times she acts like an entitled, spoiled brat. She’s rude and disrespectful, and when I ask her to do something, she doesn’t always do it. I can’t take it anymore.
I know I’m not her biological mom, but I will not continue to tolerate her behavior and attitude. Although I have spoken with her dad about it, he has done nothing to correct the problem. Please tell me what to do. — FRUSTRATED “STEPMOM”
DEAR FRUSTRATED: The next time you are asked to watch your boyfriend’s daughter, decline and clearly state the reason why. Perhaps when it becomes inconvenient for him, he will assert himself, act like a parent and insist that his daughter behave respectfully. If not, you may have to rethink the relationship.
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.
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.)