Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I have seriously thought about giving my husband an ultimatum and moving out for a while. Living with him is no longer tolerable. His children support me 100%. He’s an alcoholic and can be a bully when he’s drinking. His bad behavior comes and goes. I never know who he’ll be when he puts the can down. We have been married 30 years. He’s better now, but I don’t know how long it will last.

I have recently met and fallen in love with someone who says he wants to marry me. I still love my husband, but I’m also in love with this other person. I feel life is too short to stay with someone so unpredictable, and I no longer feel romantically attracted to my husband. I dread hurting him and also the idea of divorce. I’m not sure if I should wait and see how things play out or pull the plug and get it over with. I don’t want to make a mistake, but I also do not want to stay in an unhappy relationship for the rest of my life.
The other thing is, my husband has no real income. I support him financially, and I don’t want him to be destitute. We are seniors, but I still work, have an IRA and Social Security. He has only a small SS check to live on, which is not enough. His children say that’s not my problem, but I feel responsible. Help! — INDECISIVE IN FLORIDA
DEAR INDECISIVE: Start talking with a family law attorney about what your financial picture will look like if you leave the alcoholic husband you have been supporting, because a judge may have something to say about it. Since you have supported him for so many years, you may have to continue.
If you decide to leave, it is important that you take some time to decompress before entering into another marriage. DO NOTHING ON IMPULSE. You haven’t known this new man very long. If the relationship is good, it will get even better with time. If, however, it turns out to be problematic, you will have avoided an emotionally and financially expensive mistake.
DEAR ABBY: I am writing this letter for one of my students who learned about you through the book “Ramona Quimby, Age 8.” Here is her question: “How should I share my feelings with my mom in a healthy way? And how can I be a good big sister while being in a wheelchair and not able to move like my other sisters?” — WONDERING IN THE SOUTH
DEAR WONDERING: To share your feelings with your mother “in a healthy way,” choose a time when she is able to give you her full attention and she isn’t distracted or distressed. Ask when she has time to talk, and tell her you would like to.
And please, do not think that your wheelchair makes you a bad big sister. One of the most important things a sibling can do is to be kind, loving and a GOOD LISTENER. Offer advice when it is needed. And remember, sometimes time can be the most important gift of all.
TO MY READERS: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins at sundown. During this 24-hour period, observant Jewish people fast, engage in reflection and prayer and formally repent for any sin that might have been committed during the previous Hebrew year. To all of you who observe — may your fast be a meaningful one. — LOVE, ABBY
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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, 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,
1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106; 816-581-7500

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