DEAR ABBY: I am a 59-year-old man. My 50-year-old fiancee lives in a nice home, but after a 15-year loving relationship, she decided last week to be with someone else. She had recently lost a great deal of weight, bought a new car and started to do things I felt were not age-appropriate — although I never said anything adverse about them.
She’s now staying in a weekly rental motel room with him. It leads me to believe they both left relationships and had nowhere else to go. She didn’t give me a chance to fight for us (counseling, etc.) or even a heads-up that she was unhappy. One afternoon when I got home from work, I found a note from her saying she was sorry for not being able to tell me in person, but she was doing this for herself.
I have always been an honorable person in any relationship I have had. This is hard for me to understand and move on from. I have never been this hurt and emotionally drained. She will not communicate with me verbally, only through emails and texts. I feel desperate and lost. Please give me any encouragement that there is light somewhere at the end of the tunnel. — EMOTIONALLY DRAINED IN MAINE
DEAR EMOTIONALLY DRAINED: Although your lady friend didn’t give you the chance to fight for her by getting counseling, my first bit of advice is to make an appointment with a therapist and start fighting for yourself. You may not have known your fiancee as well as you thought you did. Once you regain some perspective, you may realize that something changed when she made the effort to start losing weight. (I’m guessing this was around the time she met the man she’s now living with.)
Please understand that the woman you invested so much time in was dishonest, cowardly and selfish to have treated you the way she did. I wish you had mentioned why the two of you hadn’t married in the 15 years you were together. But, my friend, you dodged a bullet. A licensed psychotherapist will help you to realize how lucky you are.
DEAR ABBY: My brother-in-law recently moved near us. He never misses a chance to one-up others or brag about everything he has. Others have noticed this as well. We are all retired and living fairly well. However, comparisons are made, innuendos are tossed around and he has even referenced our children “needing” their inheritance, while his kids don’t “since they have great jobs.”
I’m close to my sister and happy to have her near me, but I’m not sure how to handle the situation with her spouse. I try to minimize my time with him and ignore him when he speaks, however difficult it may be. My husband no longer wants anything to do with him, and I can’t say I blame him. But I don’t want to cause a rift between my sister and me. Advice? — DEALING WITH A NARCISSIST
DEAR DEALING: There are two ways to handle this. The first would be to recognize that people who feel the need to do what your brother-in-law has been doing usually do it out of insecurity. The second would be to tell your sister how her husband’s remarks affect you and your husband — and that if he doesn’t knock it off, they’ll be seeing a lot less of you. Then let her handle it.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.