DEAR ABBY: I need your advice about a problem I’m facing with a man I’ve been dating almost four years. When I met “Jeff,” he had two older Yorkshire terriers. Both were very territorial and relieved themselves in the house. I told him I was concerned about moving in with him because of his out-of-control dogs, and he understood. They were older dogs, and I knew one day they would pass, so I waited patiently.
Then Jeff’s neighbor passed away, leaving a dog. He adopted that dog, and it has become a bigger issue than the first two. The new dog is very aggressive. It tries to bite me and won’t let me into certain rooms in the house! I expressed my concern to Jeff, but nothing has been done.
We are currently engaged but living separately. I told Jeff that we need to live together before getting married, so I gave him an ultimatum — try to find a home for the new dog and I’ll move in.
That was two years ago, and nothing has been done. At this point, I suspect that he adopted the third dog without me knowing in order to prevent me from moving in. I feel like he chose the new dog over me! What do I do? — OVERLOOKED HUMAN IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR OVERLOOKED HUMAN: Listen to your intuition and accept that where you are concerned, Jeff has a commitment problem. If he wanted you to live with him, he would not have taken in an aggressive animal. Without saying it in words, he is sending you a strong message. From where I sit, you may have devoted enough time to a romance that’s going nowhere. Give Jeff a choice: Kennel train the dog or the romance is over.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are 58 and getting ready to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. We knew each other in college, but were just friends back then. After college, we married others and raised children. We stayed married to our spouses for close to 30 years.
We reconnected eight years ago, started an affair and divorced our partners. Neither of us is proud of this. My adult children have accepted my husband. His refused to accept me, and only one of them has a relationship with him.
He was out of town recently, and I caught him in a lie about having invited a female former colleague to lunch with him. I was shocked and hurt because this is how our relationship started. He has apologized, but I can’t get over the fact he lied to me, and it has caused a rift between us. He has always been honest with me, so I wonder why he lied about this woman.
I know I’m in no position to judge others. I can’t afford counseling, and we don’t belong to a church for spiritual help. I suffer from depression and anxiety (I am under the care of a doctor and take medication) but cannot shake the sadness. How can I ever trust my husband again? — HURTING HEART IN THE MOUNTAINS
DEAR HURTING HEART: In light of the way your affair with your husband began, he may have lied because he was afraid of upsetting you. A way to start this very necessary conversation would be to tell him how shaken you are that he wasn’t truthful and try to get him to explain why he thought he had to lie. You should also ask if he thinks there is anything awry in your marriage.
If he tells you nothing is wrong and there is nothing he would change, believe him. If after that, you are still feeling insecure, ask the doctor who is treating your depression and anxiety to suggest some low-cost mental health/counseling services in your community.
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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