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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Husband longingly idolizes his former girlfriends to wife

by Abigail Van Buren | September 18, 2022 at 2:28 a.m.


DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 40 years, and we've had our ups and downs. My problem is, he frequently talks about the girls he knew before me. He describes them all in glowing terms -- gorgeous, perfect body, beautiful hair, well-endowed and on and on. It makes me feel self-conscious and inadequate.

Add to this he is short-tempered with me. He constantly finds fault with the way I do things and speaks to me harshly. When I told him how it made me feel, his answer was that I was "sick in the head." He won't listen or acknowledge that he has a part in the problem. Where do I go from here?

-- Feeling Less Than

DEAR FEELING LESS: I'm glad you asked. Where you go from here is to the office of a licensed psychotherapist to help you figure out why you have tolerated being treated this way for 40 years and give you the tools to regain your battered self-esteem.

Your short-tempered husband is no prize. Whether his long-ago girlfriends could have competed for Miss Universe is beside the point. He somehow wound up with "flawed" little ol' you. You are no more "sick in the head" than I am! Wrap your mind around that fact and recognize you are married to a verbal abuser with an overactive fantasy life, and the better off you will be.

DEAR ABBY: I have known my friend "Aaron" since first grade. Our relationship hasn't been the same since covid broke out. He hardly ever connects with me unless it's on social media. He refuses to get together with anyone or leave his house.

Things haven't been easy for him because he lives alone. He used to live with his brother, but since his brother's death a few years ago, Aaron hasn't been the same. I'm upset with him because instead of telling me, he told my best friend about his brother's death. When we discussed trying to get together again, he initially said he wanted to wait until the stay-at-home order was lifted. When that finally happened, he announced he didn't want to get together until covid had died down and it was considered safe.

Abby, I feel hurt and betrayed. I understand Aaron's concerns about covid and the risks involved, but I don't like being lied to. I feel he deceived me by telling me one thing but really meaning another. I think he should have been upfront and honest with me from the start.

I value our friendship, so I'm not willing to throw it away just yet. Aaron is no longer talking to me, and our relationship is ruined. Am I wrong to feel this way? I'm unsure about what steps to take next.

-- Hurt Guy in Michigan

DEAR HURT GUY: You didn't mention whether Aaron is socializing again with others. It's possible that since his brother's passing he has realized how fragile and unpredictable life can be, and is taking every precaution. I think it would be healthier for you if you stop obsessing about him and begin forming other friendships. If Aaron is no longer talking to you, the "steps" you should take are in the opposite direction.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


Print Headline: Husband longingly idolizes his former girlfriends to wife

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