DEAR ABBY: My husband is in another state with his elderly (but still active) mother. He went to help her get her house ready for sale so she can move near us. Before he left, he was having severe panic attacks. He kept telling me he is scared of losing me (he’s been out of work for months) and that he was going to need me while he was with her.
Since he has been gone, he has barely called, rarely texts and even suggested taking a break from me. This was after finding out I had to go to the ER and had been diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disorder. He’s blaming me for having to ask his mother for money to cover our bills.
This woman has been single for 30 years, worked full time and has essentially no real expenses. She spoils the heck out of him — her only child. She treats him like her partner or a 12-year-old boy. She dislikes that I’m at home taking care of my 1-year-old grandchild and not working. I have always contributed, but this is the choice my husband and I made together.
I don’t feel like he’s concerned about any of his relatives here, and I certainly don’t feel loved when he goes days without even checking in. When he’s with her, he becomes a cold, bratty child. Any advice on what to say to him? — UNCERTAIN IN TEXAS
DEAR UNCERTAIN: Tell your husband you need him home right now more than his mother needs him there. As things stand, your husband’s fear of losing you could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When his mother moves closer, the situation will not improve because he will become even more “childlike.” Unless the two of you have counseling, establish some boundaries and get your priorities straight, your marriage isn’t likely to last unless you are willing to accept the status quo.
DEAR ABBY: I became friends with “John” when I was 9. We met through our church youth group and our shared interests. We lost contact after a year or so when I stopped attending the youth group and moved on to other friends and interests.
During the pandemic, John reached out to me on Facebook to try to rebuild our friendship. Truth be told, I really don’t care to. It has been 10 years since we last spoke, and I have changed considerably in that time. I met him twice to see if we had something over which to bond, but there was nothing. He’s a good guy, but how do I politely tell him I’m not interested in pursuing an adult friendship with him? — OLD PAL IN CANADA
DEAR PAL: One way to accomplish it would be to simply be busy when he reaches out. However, if you feel compelled to say something to him, tell him that while you had much in common years ago, your life has changed since then. You have wonderful memories, but they are in the past and you live in the present. You have other interests and responsibilities now and do not have time for the close relationship he is seeking. It’s the truth.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.