DEAR ABBY: For the past three years, I have been with a man who I believe is the love of my life.
Early on, he admitted to a porn addiction that has plagued him his entire life and sabotaged previous relationships. With my support, he began his first real attempt at recovery, which included a team of mental therapists.
His progress over the last three years, although not linear, has been enormous. He is a completely different person. I would describe our relationship as 90% gratifying, 10% pain (he has had four brief relapses where he has said incredibly hurtful things to me). I agree that the cycle must be broken and only he can do it.
A week ago, he had a severe relapse and ended our relationship. His therapist feels he needs to be alone to focus on recovery. Even though I’m broken, I agree.
But I can not understand why he gives up on us forever and makes big decisions like getting rid of the mortgage on the house we bought less than two years ago. He swears that it has nothing to do with me and that if it were not for this addiction, he would spend the rest of his life with me.
If his plan is to live alone, be single or celibate and focus on recovery, then why would he not also pause with big financial decisions? Why is he so completely finished when there is clearly hope for recovery and reconciliation?
CRUSHED IN OREGON
DEAR CRUSHED HEART: You have involved yourself with someone who has a terrible track record when it comes to relationships.
Whatever his plans for the future may be, he does not want a committed relationship with you, nor does he want the financial responsibility and the bond to you that the house represents, which is why he wants out of the mortgage.
It is now time for you to start taking care of your own needs and goals. If you stay busy and do not isolate yourself, it will lessen the pain you feel.
DEAR ABBY: My brother divorced his first wife 10 years ago. Since then, he has married a wonderful woman that my family loves. The problem is that my ex-sister-in-law insists on showing up for family events, making these festivities extremely awkward. Even her children recognize how uncomfortable her presence makes everyone.
I do not mind being the “bad guy” and telling her that she is no longer welcome to family events, but I do not want to create an ugly scene. How can I diplomatically (but definitely) tell her to stay away? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
FLUMMOXED IN PHILADELPHIA
DEAR FLUMMOXED: What a sad situation. Your brother, not you, should deliver the message to his ex, well in advance of her showing up for your next family event. He should inform her that when she shows up unsolicited, her presence makes everyone uncomfortable and it would be best if she does not impose herself again.
You can reduce the wound by occasionally seeing her separately, depending on the circumstances of the divorce.
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 PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.