Dear Abby: My soul mate is about to marry, and I need to stop it

The man admits he’s not in love with his fiancee but is committing to her out of obligation.

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DEAR ABBY: My soul mate, “Ted,” is marrying another woman. When we met 10 years ago, we fell madly in love. We had absolutely everything in common but couldn’t take our relationship to the next level because we were both married at the time.

Ted’s wife eventually left him for another man, but we still couldn’t be together as I was still married. During that time, he met a woman named “Shelley.” I eventually got divorced because my husband left me for another woman, but I still couldn’t be with Ted because he was now with Shelley.

We are perfect for each other in every way, but our paths could never come together. Ted has admitted they have nothing in common and he’s not in love with her, but he feels he has an obligation since she has been there for so long. I’m devastated at the thought of losing my soul mate again. I don’t want him to marry her. Help! — SUCH BAD TIMING IN TENNESSEE

DEAR TIMING: I am going to assume that Ted knows you are devastated at the thought of his marrying someone else. If you haven’t told him, do it now. And when you do, point out that marriages entered into out of a feeling of “obligation” rather than love don’t usually last. It’s a sad truth. If he was being honest with you about his feelings for Shelley, she deserves better than what she’ll be getting.

Keep in mind that Ted has had time to end that romance since your divorce. My advice is to take a break. Clear your head before trying to find someone who is as available as you are, since Ted is taken.

DEAR ABBY: My dad used to beat my mother badly. Back then, it was “don’t tell.” Well, I guess she got tired of it because she had him shot. I was 15 at the time. My brother and sister were 8 and 6, and they don’t remember it well. But they were in my care until they were in their 20s.

Now they are older, and I am treated like the black sheep. They act like I’m beneath them, and it hurts. My brother ended up in prison and was out for only two months before he put his hands on me. Am I petty for having nothing to do with them? My mom was in prison for a long time and died two years after she was released. What am I supposed to do? — DRIFTING IN THE EAST

DEAR DRIFTING: Abusers have sometimes been victims themselves, or they grew up witnessing abuse, which is why they think it is normal behavior. Please accept that you can’t fix what’s wrong with your relatives (the younger ones included). Although you have been through much trauma at an early age, it is within your power to heal. Counseling can help you to do that. It is available in most communities through the Department of Mental Health.

DEAR ABBY: I find the phrase “Shut up!” to be hostile, aggressive and, at times, demoralizing. Are there any situations where it is OK to say it? — POLITE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR POLITE: Although the phrase “Shut up!” may be jarring to hear, it has become part of the vernacular and its meaning has changed over the years. It isn’t always intended to mean “be quiet.” It is sometimes used lightheartedly to express surprise.

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.

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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