Dear Abby: Stuck in nursing care, man doesn’t want to see girlfriend anymore

Woman saw him as a lifelong companion and despairs that he won’t answer her calls or texts.

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DEAR ABBY: I had a boyfriend for two years until a few days ago. He’s a 40-year-old easygoing paraplegic (from a car accident long before I met him), and I’m an easygoing 36-year-old woman with two kids from a previous marriage.

We had a great connection, a similar outlook on life and the same interests in pretty much everything. He adored my girls. We would all go to a movie every so often or to dinner occasionally, but mostly we would stay in and play games or watch TV when we were spending time together.

I’m his first girlfriend, so he was new to the concept of having someone love him in spite of every little flaw he had (which were very few). I told him so many times that no matter what was wrong, I was going to stick by his side.

Recently, he’s had a medical problem with a few ulcerated sores. This sometimes happens to paraplegics. Unfortunately, his doctor has said he needed to leave his apartment temporarily and go into a nursing facility to get round-the-clock care. A few months went by, with plenty of visits from friends, family, and me and my daughters. (He always introduces us as his family.)

The doctor now says he may need to stay there for a year, and I know he became immediately depressed. He sent me a text saying he thinks we should just be friends, and he doesn’t want a reminder of what he can’t do anymore. I feel like this isn’t him, that he’s jumping to rash conclusions because of stress. I don’t want to end the relationship. I’m willing to keep moving forward and get through this speed bump together.

He won’t answer my calls or texts, and I’m at a loss about what I should do next. I want to keep him so badly. My heart aches every day worrying about this. He may lose a year of freedom, but I’m losing a lifelong companion. — HEAVY HEART IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR HEAVY HEART: You really have no choice but to follow this man’s lead, so do as he has asked. Remember, you promised to support him no matter what. Agree to be “just friends,” although it won’t be easy if he wants to remain incommunicado. In the meantime, stay as active with other friends as you can. Above all, do NOT allow yourself to become socially isolated because he has chosen to isolate himself.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter “Frances” is currently applying for graduate school and is dating a man who works in human waste management. She lives in the dorms at school. Her brother “Harry” was at a party recently, and a young lady told him the “poop pumper” has been trying to get some alone time with her. I feel I should tell Frances that her guy is on the prowl. They have been dating since Frances was 16, and my wife and I have always thought she could do better. Should we tell her? — HOLDING MY NOSE IN OHIO

DEAR HOLDING: No, HARRY should tell his sister about the person he met at the party and exactly what he was told. Coming from her brother it will sound less like “I told you so.” As to your comment that Frances “could do better,” if you’re referring to the boyfriend’s chosen field, be aware that people in waste management can earn a very good living doing a very important job.

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.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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