Dear Abby: I’m vying with another woman for an inmate’s love

Woman’s relationship with an incarcerated man was going great until his ex resurfaced.

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DEAR ABBY: I am a 42-year-old mother of three who has been in a relationship with a man for almost six years. He is incarcerated. We started out as friends. Things were great until this year, when he reconnected with an old girlfriend.

I had a conversation with her over Facebook, and she wanted to invite me out for coffee one day. I ended up messaging her later on that night, and she told my boyfriend I had “made her uncomfortable.” She ended up blocking me on Facebook.

Abby, he’s now saying he’s in love with both of us! I’m not allowed to talk about her, and anything they talk about is “none of my business.” I do not get as many phone calls from him as I used to, and I think it’s because of her. I’m not sure what her plans are, but I get the feeling she’s trying to get me out of the picture. Please tell me what to do. — CROWDED IN ALASKA

DEAR CROWDED: Forgive me for seeming negative, but from what you have written, I don’t think this man is in love with either one of you. What you should “do” is reassess your relationship with this two-timing felon. His ex-girlfriend may indeed be maneuvering to get you out of the picture, and my advice to you, which I sincerely hope you will follow, is to LET HER DO IT. You may have started out as “friends” with this man, but friends do NOT treat friends the way he has been treating you.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve read many letters over the years about relationships in which there is a significant age gap, and thought I would like to share a success story. My boyfriend and I have a 22-year age difference, and we couldn’t be happier. We are both divorced with children (his is grown and lives independently; mine are 14 and 11). We found each other about a year before the pandemic. He was above the age range I’d specified on online dating apps, but we met at a mutual friend’s art opening. There were immediate sparks, and we didn’t realize our age difference until about a week later. By then the seeds of a mature, non-codependent relationship were sprouting.

He’s 60 now, and I am 38. We live separately, but go back and forth between the houses most nights. He’s actively engaged in my kids’ lives, and we’re talking about marriage. Because of our age difference, this includes discussing wills, estate planning and the hurdles that come with retirement and raising high schoolers, but we do it with great respect for where the other is in their own journey. This is the best relationship either of us has ever been in. I’m so glad we didn’t let our age difference prevent us from enjoying this life together. — LUCKIEST GIRL IN TEXAS

DEAR LUCKIEST GIRL: When both parties are adults with experience in the world, age is only a number. While there can be challenges in May-December unions, you and your boyfriend appear to be looking at the future with eyes wide open. Thank you for your upper of a letter.

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 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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