Dear Abby: When I’m broke, I can’t count on my partner to help

During rough patches, he’s been known to ridicule or even abandon the struggling partner.

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DEAR ABBY: I’m a gay man who has been in an on-again/off-again relationship for three years. My partner still lives at home with his mother. He has never left the home, aside from a four-month period when he and his mom weren’t getting along.

My issue is, aside from never fully committing, my partner, “Damien,” seems to always find a way to abandon me when I hit a rough patch. I lose my job and I’m low on money? He yells at me and leaves. And he manages to not return until I’m “back on my feet.”

When the coronavirus hit and I had all my bills paid but nothing to eat, I finally had to say, “Hey, can you get me something?” We go to a burger place, the line’s long and he complains nonstop about the wait. We leave and go to my place to hang out. Then he leaves and calls me and talks about what he’s going to eat. I hang up.

Before, when I was homeless, he never offered any help, even though he doesn’t have a place of his own. If I say, “I know you’re really guarded with your money,” he becomes enraged. And when he hears about my difficulties, he talks down to me and mocks the situation I am in. He attributes his never leaving home to his family helping him and caring about him. The fact that I’m not in a situation like his implies my family doesn’t care. Can you help? — A LOT WRONG IN TEXAS

DEAR A LOT WRONG: I’ll try. It’s time you recognized that Damien is NOT your “partner.” Partners HELP each other when they are in trouble. The sooner you lose this person, the sooner you will start to feel better. Damien is all about Damien. His character is fully formed. You can’t change him, and neither can I. Leaving Damien may help you become more independent — and that’s a good thing. Trust me on that.

DEAR ABBY: I love my wife dearly. We’ve been married for 21 years. I’m frustrated with how she dresses for work and when we go out. Her idea of fashion is wearing clothes that are too large for her. I don’t like going out in public with her when she dresses that way. Granted, she put on some weight after our third child, but she still has a nice, shapely figure. I have seen women with similar body shapes who wear closer-fitting clothes, and they look great. How can I convey that her style is unflattering without upsetting her? — FRUSTRATED WITH FRUMPY

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Your wife may dress the way she does because she’s self-conscious about her weight or simply because she thinks loose-fitting clothes are more comfortable. Because you feel they don’t flatter her, start by asking why she’s dressing the way she does. Tell her you think she is beautiful and that the items she is choosing don’t do justice to her “nice, shapely figure.” You might even volunteer to go with her to help her choose some things, if she’s interested. But if she isn’t, let the subject drop because, ultimately, she’s going to wear whatever she wants.

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.

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.)

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