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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Special relationship ends when man's wife returns

by Abigail Van Buren | April 28, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

DEAR ABBY: I've been dating a married man for the last three years, and everything was great. We were attached at the hip and inseparable. I thought we had something special going.

His wife abandoned him and their two children for more than a year, and he didn't know anything about raising kids, so I stepped in to help. It was great. They were just like my own. I was finally happy. I had the life I wanted. He even met with a lawyer to get a divorce.

Suddenly he announced he's letting her come back because she has nowhere to go. I am devastated. Ever since her return, she has made his life a living hell. He tells everyone -- including her -- how miserable he is, and she does the same thing.

Why won't he get a divorce? Should I wait for him? Did he ever really love me? -- LOVING LADY IN TEXAS

DEAR LOVING LADY: There could be any number of reasons why he won't divorce his wife. He may feel that, miserable as he is, a divorce would be too expensive. Or he may be trying to keep the family together "for the sake of the kids." Or he may even love her.

That she is making his life a "living hell" is a problem of his own making. Please, for the sake of your own mental health, quit making it yours. Did he ever really love you? I can't answer that and neither can you. He certainly isn't acting like someone who loves you.

Gather your strength and jump off the treadmill. It's time to go on with your life.


DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are going to be first-time parents in a few months, and this will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family (and the first baby in almost 18 years). We are excited to share this experience with them. However, I have some concerns about after the baby is born.

I already deal with anxiety, and I have strict "rules" that I would like to be followed. For example, no kissing my baby's face, no posting photos on social media, etc. How can I get my wishes across to my family without sounding like a control freak? I worry that they won't respect them and say I'm overthinking everything. Any advice is appreciated. -- FIRST-TIME PARENT IN NEW YORK

DEAR FIRST-TIME PARENT: Your life is in transition, and your concerns are understandable. Remember, YOU are the parent. If you prefer your baby not be smothered with kisses, you are within your rights to say so. However, as long as your relatives are not sick and wash their hands well before touching your newborn, there shouldn't be a problem. After three months, your baby's underdeveloped immune system should be stronger.

If you haven't already discussed this with your pediatrician, schedule an appointment. Not only will you find it educational, it may put some of your fears to rest.

As to your little one's image being posted online, every family has their own comfort level. Explain your concerns, and if the grands don't cooperate, make them surrender their cellphones when they visit.

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