DEAR ABBY: I am a 39-year-old woman who has been in a relationship for five years and married for two. Abby, I am consumed with regret for marrying this man. He’s loyal and has a good job, but he spends most of our money on food (eating out at work, drinking expensive beers, buying tools, etc.) and he is probably the most negative person I know. His negativity is so overwhelming it has pulled me down closer to his level than where I started when we met.
I feel trapped. I don’t want to be single at 40, and I know somewhere in there I love him, so I’m working on my own energy so it won’t affect me so much. He just makes everything so miserable with his attitude. He exudes bad energy. He pouts, throws temper tantrums, is rude, condescending, and EVERYONE around him can feel his bad moods.
He has only recently started therapy and I want to be patient, but I have this loop playing in my head — “I hate his guts!” I know it’s not true, but I am so resentful and remorseful for marrying him. Is there anything I can do to save my marriage? Is it even worth it? — SECOND THOUGHTS IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: There is something you can do, and I sincerely hope you will take it to heart. Recognize that “pouting, temper tantrums, condescension and (constant) negativity” is hostile and abusive. I am glad your husband is receiving professional help to improve his behavior and attitude. Now it’s time for you to do the same. If you do, it will help you to clear your head and your soul. It will also give you deeper insight into whether this is worth it.
P.S. Saving your marriage will have to be a joint effort. This is not something you can do on your own.
DEAR ABBY: I’ve been dealing with some emotional stress for well over a year. I’ve recently found out my wife’s ex was much more well-endowed than I am. I understand that’s not the most important thing, but it is messing with me mentally. One reason is, a long time ago when she was drunk, she asked me why it was so small. When I came across pictures of him, it all came back.
I feel like we need to talk about it, but I don’t know how to start. I know she will get mad and I don’t think she would tell me the truth. A lot of things go along with these feelings, which is part of why it bothers me so much. I probably need to just let it go, but it continues to haunt me. We have been married a long time and have had our share of problems. How do I get past this? Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated. — NOT MEASURING UP IN ALABAMA
DEAR NOT MEASURING UP: What, exactly, is the “truth” you are afraid your wife will conceal if you bring this out in the open? If she thought you couldn’t satisfy her needs, she wouldn’t have married you. The question I would like answered is where those old photos were when you stumbled across them. Were you going through her belongings because you feel insecure about things other than your anatomy? This does need to be discussed when you are both sober, because if you remain silent, your insecurity will only grow worse. Please don’t wait to do it.
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.
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