Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for two decades to a man who is incapable of connecting with anyone. It didn’t become apparent until after we were married. He is very good at surface relationships but cannot go deeper than that. Because of this, he abused, isolated and ignored me. He didn’t realize he was causing harm since he didn’t regard me — and still doesn’t regard me — as a person with emotions.

A friend I’ve known for a decade recently has confessed he’s attracted to me. This man communicates with me without words. We connect easily and completely. We kissed one time, and for the first time I understood why people enjoy kissing and how it unites two people. With my husband, it’s just a task to complete.
My husband has, for the most part, stopped abusing me. He has become a fairly decent man as long as I don’t expect much from him. I can’t decide if I should stay as the invisible wife or take a chance at being seen, cherished and loved.
The new relationship cannot move forward unless I’m divorced; but there’s no guarantee we would be married or would even want to be. We definitely love each other, but still have a lot to learn about one another. Should I stay where it’s safe but heartbreakingly lonely, or take a chance that could either end well or very badly? — INVISIBLE WOMAN
DEAR INVISIBLE: For the last 20 years you have been living what you describe as a “heartbreakingly lonely” existence. Why have you tolerated it? If you do what you are considering and things don’t work out, are you strong enough to go it alone in the future? Like any other investment, whether to pursue this depends upon your tolerance for risk. If you divorce, it should not be “for” anyone else, but only for yourself.
DEAR ABBY: I have a co-worker who bullies the team into attending funerals. These are not individuals who are close or well known to me or to the others. If a family member (or even an in-law) of someone who works with us passes away, this person demands to know the funeral details and then bullies me (and the others) into going.
Abby, I understand one goes to funerals for the people who have lost someone and to pay respects. But I also think funerals are a touchy subject, and it is inappropriate to go if you don’t even know the deceased’s name or aren’t close with the co-worker who sustained the loss. I always send flowers, a card and my condolences. Why must I also sit graveside? What is a good response (besides “No”) when I am cornered to attend a funeral without starting WWIII with this co-worker? — FORCED IN TEXAS
DEAR FORCED: All you need to say, in addition to “NO” is, “I’m not comfortable doing that, SO DON’T ASK ME AGAIN.” Then stick to your guns and refuse to allow yourself to be arm-twisted into doing anything ON YOUR OWN TIME with which you are uncomfortable.
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.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
(EDITORS: If you have editorial questions, please contact Clint Hooker, [email protected])
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