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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Partner cast aside amid man’s personal struggles

by Abigail Van Buren | January 13, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.

Dear Abby: For the past three years I’ve been with the love of my life. Early on, he admitted to a porn addiction that has plagued him his entire life and sabotaged past relationships. With my support, he began his first attempt at recovery, which included a team of mental health practitioners.

His progress over the past three years has been tremendous. He’s an entirely different person. However, he has had four brief relapses. A week ago, he had a difficult relapse and ended our relationship. His therapist feels he needs to be on his own to focus on recovery.

While I am devastated, I agree. But I can’t understand why he’s giving up on us forever and making big decisions like getting off the mortgage on the house we bought less than two years ago. He swears that if it weren’t for this addiction, he would spend his life with me.

If his plan is to live alone and focus on recovery, why wouldn’t he also pause on all major financial decisions? Why is he so completely done when there is clearly hope for recovery and reconciliation? — Broken-Hearted In Oregon

Dear Broken-Hearted: You have involved yourself with someone who has a terrible track record when it comes to relationships. Whatever his plans for the future may be, he does not want a committed relationship with you, nor does he want the financial responsibility and the tie to you that the house represents, which is why he wants off the mortgage. It is now time for you to start looking after your own needs and goals. If you stay busy and don’t isolate yourself, it will lessen the pain you are feeling.

Dear Abby: My brother divorced his first wife 10 years ago. Since then, he has married a wonderful woman my family adores. The problem is, my ex-sister-in-law insists on showing up for family events, which makes these celebrations extremely awkward. Even her children recognize it.

I don’t mind being the “bad guy” and telling her that she’s no longer welcome, but I don’t want to cause an ugly scene. How can I diplomatically (but firmly) tell her to stay away? Any suggestions would be appreciated. — Flummoxed In Philadelphia

Dear Flummoxed: What a sad situation. Your brother, not you, should deliver the message, well before she shows up at your next family event. He should tell her that when she shows up uninvited, her presence makes everyone uncomfortable, and it would be best that she not impose again.

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 P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles,CA 90069 or visit


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