Dear Abby: Should I stay with man who never gives gifts, talks nonstop?

Woman feels like she loves her boyfriend, even though he often plays victim, contradicts himself and calls and texts her constantly.

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DEAR ABBY: I am a 41-year-old divorced woman. My two grown children live with their dad. I have been in a relationship with “Sir Talks-a-Lot” for 16 months. I feel like I love him, but I’m having lots of doubts. When I don’t see him, it doesn’t bother me. If I made a pros-and-cons list, there would be more cons than pros.

And he talks nonstop — about anything and everything. If he’s not texting me, he’s calling me. We don’t go on real dates; all we do is hang out or go out to grab a bite. He contradicts himself often, and if we argue, he is always the victim. He talks a good game, but I feel like it’s all talk. I have gotten flowers once in 16 months, and no holiday or birthday gifts. But his talk game is so good that I feel guilty for thinking about breaking things off. Is it me? Or am I just feeling suffocated? — CONFUSED IN THE WITCH CITY

DEAR CONFUSED: It’s not you, and stop feeling guilty. When someone’s actions don’t mirror what they say, it is a big red flag. You are being overdosed with “smother love,” which is really less about you and more about Sir Talks-a-Lot’s insecurity. He can’t let you have your space because he’s afraid that if he does, you will escape. It is important that you listen to your intuition, because it’s sending you an important message.

DEAR ABBY: There are several bad habits my husband has, but the one that frightens me the most involves our 2-year-old son. I’m afraid to leave them alone when we are out shopping. I have walked up on them a few times and noticed my husband reading or looking at stuff with his back to the buggy while our son is in it. When I tell him it scares me, he says I’m overreacting. I’m worried someone will steal our son. He always says, “He’s within arm’s reach. No one is going to run away with him before I have the chance to stop them.”

Abby, this kind of crime has happened before. I have seen it in the news. My husband is no superhero. Am I wrong to think he should keep the buggy in front of him at all times when our son is in it? He shouldn’t let our 2-year-old walk up the aisles unattended either. Or am I wrong? — LAURA IN OHIO

DEAR LAURA: You are not wrong to want to err on the side of safety. If it would put your mind at ease, your husband should accommodate your request. Toddlers should not wander unattended in the aisles either, not only because of the danger of kidnapping, but also the possibility of an accident.

DEAR ABBY: I don’t trust the woman I’m with. She flirts with other guys and says disrespectful things about me when she talks to other people. We are also not on the same page sexually. I feel obligated to her because we have been together for 15 years. I don’t want counseling. What should I do? — NOT ON THE SAME PAGE

DEAR NOT ON THE SAME PAGE: What you should do is tell your longtime girlfriend exactly what you have told me and end the relationship. If you do, you will be doing both of you a favor. Trust me.

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.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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