Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: As a way to manage my stress and anxiety when COVID hit, I started to exercise. Neither my husband, “Chris,” nor I had ever been into fitness at all. As the months have gone on, I have realized the power of being healthy, and I try to exercise every day. The problem? Chris is angry. He calls it “me time” and has made it very difficult for me to go.
I tried swimming in the morning before work, but he said he couldn’t manage at home to get our 2-year-old ready for school. I tried to go to the gym in the early evening, but he said he needs me to help get the children ready for bed. I tried running later at night, but it didn’t feel safe, and I also had trouble falling asleep.
Abby, I don’t know what to do. Last night he told me I am selfish and should move out. Can you help me? — KEEPING MY SANITY
DEAR KEEPING: Establishing a routine of regular exercise wasn’t selfish. It was the right thing to do. People have been experiencing symptoms of depression and extreme stress since this pandemic began. It is more important now than ever that you continue to take care of your physical and emotional health, and it’s a shame your husband didn’t do the same.
Rather than prevent you from doing what you have been doing, your husband should have praised you. Could he be jealous or threatened by what you have accomplished? That he would say something so extreme as “you should move out” was childish. (Who would look after the kids then?)
A mature approach would be for the two of you to agree upon a schedule in which he either dresses the kids in the morning OR tucks them in at night. It not only would be a lot less expensive than a divorce, but your husband might even grow to enjoy it.
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DEAR ABBY: I am a divorced father of two, both over 18. I have been dating a divorced mother of three. Her children are between the ages of 7 and 12.
We are really good together, and we would like to make a life together. The problem is, she’s reluctant to let her ex-husband know about me for fear of his violent reaction (she has no lingering feelings toward him other than fear). Because of this, she doesn’t want her kids to know we are romantically involved. They think I’m just a “friend.” She gets defensive when I bring this up.
We have been seeing each other for a couple of years now. I love her, but I’m starting to get the feeling this will never move forward. What should I do? And how long should I wait? — TENTATIVE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR TENTATIVE: I wish you had written sooner. It appears that although the woman you’re involved with is divorced, she is far from free. If she’s afraid her ex will become violent if she makes her relationship with you official, and he has acted violently toward her in the past, she should contact her local police department and report it. She may also want to consider a restraining order and/or supervised visitation when he sees the children. If she is unwilling to free herself, then for your own sake, end the relationship because it will never progress.
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DEAR READERS: Today we remember the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was martyred in the cause of civil rights in 1968. His words ring as true today as when he first uttered them: “We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.” His was a voice of reason in a time of insanity, silenced too soon. — ABBY


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