Husband’s suspicions troubling to wife

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DEAR ABBY: I recently got married. My husband goes through my purse, my papers, my jewelry, my clothes — and even my underwear. He says that as my husband he has the right to do that. He says I am wrong to object.

What are your thoughts on this? I feel like although I’m a wife, I am still a person and have a right to be respected. How would you react? — CONFUSED JANE IN THE SOUTH

DEAR CONFUSED JANE: I would react by calmly asking my husband why he thought it was necessary to invade my privacy like that and if he thought I was unfaithful, and I’d tell him I regarded it as a threat to the marriage. I’m sure he would react the same way if you searched through his belongings and the history on his phone and computer.

What he is doing is a red flag. It’s an indication that he’s insecure and controlling, and spouses who behave that way have been known to escalate to domestic violence. Marriage counseling NOW might head it off. But if it doesn’t, you would be wise to consider ending the marriage before there are children involved.

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DEAR ABBY: I was married to an incredible man for 32 years. He was quite a bit older and passed away a few months ago.

Along with a wonderful marriage, I also enjoyed the gracious family I married into: stepchildren, step- grandchildren and, in later years, step-greats. Although we rarely used the word “step,” everyone always understood how I was related to them.

My question is, now that my husband is gone, am I still their step-whatever, or did I lose that when my husband died? We remain close. — STEP-WHATEVER IN KANSAS

DEAR STEP-WHATEVER: Please accept my condolences for the loss of your husband. Because your relationship with the family is a warm and close one, you shouldn’t worry. I’m sure you will always be family to them. It’s only when relationships are strained that problems like the one you’re concerned about arise.

DEAR ABBY: While going through some old paperwork, I came across a bunch of pictures of my ex-girlfriend and me. Our relationship ended 10 years ago. She’s married and lives in another state.

Part of me says it’s time to get rid of at least some of them, but I’m not sure how to do it with respect to my ex and our past relationship. The other part of me wants to keep them, as they represent a happy time in my life and what I looked like back then.

My dilemma seems to be that these images still bring out strong emotions and memories even after all this time. What do you suggest? — PHOTO-FINISHED?

DEAR PHOTO: If the memories and emotions are pleasant ones, hang onto the photos as souvenirs of happy times gone by. If you’re unable to do that, destroy them because time has marched on, and so did the lady in the pictures.

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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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