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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Navigating old and enduring relationships in a new marriage

by Abigail Van Buren | September 24, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.

Dear Abby: I recently married “Joel,” a man I love very much. While we have our differences, we are solid in the knowledge that we love each other and are in this marriage for the long haul.

Our wedding pictures just arrived and, after going through them together, I asked my husband to create a digital album to share with our family and friends, as I’m very busy with work. I just had a moment to look through the album he created and saw he had omitted a picture of my male best friend “Logan” and me hugging as Joel and I left the reception. It was a very special moment for me because I grew up with Logan and consider his family an extension of mine.

When I explained this to my husband, he expressed that he understands. I feel very hurt that this picture was omitted. Joel has expressed in the past that he isn’t comfortable with me hugging males who are not family members. It has been a point of contention between us, and after a couple of long talks on the subject I thought we had reached a resolution.

Before the wedding, I found out Joel still had pictures of ex-girlfriends in his phone. When I confronted him about it, he said he kept them for memories but would delete them, which he did. Now that we’re married I have noticed he brings up his past dating life a lot. I have asked him to stop, but he keeps doing it.

I feel like this is a double standard. I must distance myself from male friends, but Joel gets to keep his connections with ex-girlfriends. I don’t know how to broach this with him because it is so early in our marriage. I could use some advice. — Upset Newlywed In Texas

Dear Newlywed: You and your husband are overdue for a serious discussion. There’s a difference between mentioning one’s past dating life and maintaining connections to those individuals. If Joel is staying in touch with them, he is employing a double standard and you need to talk it over. You may have to keep reminding him that talking about his past romances makes you uncomfortable and ask why he persists in spite of knowing it does.

The photo of you and Logan hugging at the end of the reception may have been omitted because it wasn’t a memory of your wedding day that your husband felt was relevant. Now that you have explained its significance, ask Joel to add it if that’s possible. But do it when you are both calm and relaxed so it isn’t contentious and you can both clear the air.

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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