DEAR ABBY: I am three years into a relationship with Harold, a man who is separated but not divorced. We both have grown children. Harold was separated when we got involved. He has since moved in with me and is an active bill-paying member of the home.
I was also separated from a brief marriage when we met, and divorced shortly after we started dating. My assumption was that Harold would also be divorcing. As of now, the paperwork remains partially filled out, but no legal proceedings have begun.
I hate this. I have talked to him about it many times, so he knows my feelings. I’m at the “do it or leave” point, but can’t seem to get over the hump. I do not plan on marrying — I just want him to be divorced. What should I do? — LOOKING FOR LEGALITY IN WASHINGTON
DEAR LOOKING: When you became involved with Harold, did he TELL you he was planning on divorcing his wife? There could be reasons why he hasn’t gone through with finalizing it. One of them could be religious; another might be financial. A third, the fear that his relationship with his children — and grandchildren, if there are any — will be permanently damaged. Or, that marrying you wasn’t his objective in the first place, and your saying you didn’t want to remarry made you more attractive to him.
If remarriage isn’t your goal, why is his finalizing his divorce so important to you? Before you issue an ultimatum, it’s crucial that you understand the answer to this question. After that, you will know what — or what not — to do.
DEAR ABBY: I have an 11-month-old son. When I was pregnant, I felt I had a great relationship with my mom. She seemed excited about becoming a grandma for the first time, but once my son was born she stayed away for two weeks. When she finally came over, it was only because she happened to be in town for a meeting.
When we met for lunch, she seemed uncomfortable around the baby. I feel hurt that she doesn’t seem “into” him or being a grandma. I’m sad she’s missing out on so much, but I don’t know if I should tell her how I feel. I don’t want her to change only because I said something. I’d like her to WANT to visit.
Should I say something to her, or let it be and continue feeling resentment toward her? — DISAPPOINTED NEW MOM
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: Please try to curb your resentment until after you have discussed this with your mother, which is necessary in light of the fact that you have always had a good relationship with her.
In the weeks after your son was born, she may have been trying to give you space and time to bond with your newborn. She may also be busy, or uncomfortable around babies and toddlers who can’t yet communicate. Believe it or not, some people — even grandparents — feel that way, although they are hesitant to admit 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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.