DEAR ABBY: Just months before our 30th wedding anniversary, my husband told me he doesn’t love me and never wanted to marry me. I am beyond devastated. I feel I have wasted the best years of my life. We have two beautiful daughters who are my everything.
When he revealed this news to me, it turned my life upside down. I don’t know how to process it or what to do. I have spent years begging him to be more affectionate and loving. I always assumed he just didn’t know how to show love. It never crossed my mind that he has never loved me. I feel naive, betrayed and robbed. — HOPELESS IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR HOPELESS: When your husband handed you that “bouquet,” was he angry or inebriated? It is hard to believe that a man would stay married for 30 years to someone he didn’t love and didn’t want to marry in the first place. (Shotgun weddings are long out of style.)
Revisit that conversation with him, and if he tells you he meant what he said, you are justified in feeling the way you describe. The questions then become are you better with him or without him, and what are your legal rights in the state in which you and this man live. (Not referring to him as your “husband” was not an oversight.)
DEAR ABBY: I recently left my job and flew across the country for an internship on a small farm to learn about sustainable farming. I have been here a week. I have met some awesome people and have been having some fun with them in my free time. However, I’m now having second thoughts.
This is hard, physical labor, and my living conditions are a lot more rustic and communal than I was led to believe. There is no electricity in our quarters, and we cook our meals outside on a propane stove. Also, the internship is unpaid, and I’ll have to pay to take a summer class.
While I feel I am benefiting from this experience, I miss my old job (which I can get back) and the more comfortable lifestyle. Do you think I need to give this internship more time? — ACROSS THE COUNTRY
DEAR ACROSS: You signed on for the internship for a good reason — to learn. Having done that, it will be not only educational but also character-building to see it through until the end of the summer. This isn’t forever, and the lessons you learn may last a lifetime.
DEAR ABBY: My 15-year-old son has difficulty expressing himself and keeps things bottled up. You often advise people to seek counseling. Could you please advise me about how to begin that process and how to find the right fit and person for one’s individual needs? — INVOLVED PARENT IN VIRGINIA
DEAR PARENT: Start by asking your doctor to refer you to a specialist who works with adolescents. The company that provides your health insurance can also give you some referrals. After you and your son meet the candidates, it is simply a matter of choosing a therapist your son feels comfortable talking with.
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.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)