DEAR ABBY: I’ve been dating a great guy for a year and a half. For eight years before we met, he dated a woman with teenage daughters. He never had children, so they are as close to his own kids as he will ever have. He was recently invited to the graduation party of one of the daughters. It will be a weeklong trip, since they have moved across the country. He intends to stay awhile and visit with the girls and his old girlfriend. I’m grudgingly OK with that.
The part I’m having real trouble with is that he told me he won’t call or text me the entire week that he is gone. He has apologized in advance but says he wants to concentrate on the girls and have a break from everything. We usually talk every day, and this seems extreme, especially since he will be spending a week with the woman who broke up with him and left him heartbroken (his words).
He realizes his behavior isn’t normal and assures me we are OK, but I’m so hurt. Am I right to be this upset, and how do I get past this? — SILENT TREATMENT IN ILLINOIS
DEAR SILENT TREATMENT: I understand why you would find it upsetting that your boyfriend of a year and a half has unilaterally decided to go radio silent under these circumstances. It is a radical change of his behavior pattern, and I’m sure most women would be at least taken aback. Before he leaves, request that he send you a text confirming he has arrived safely, and another telling you when he has started back and expects to be home.
The way to “get past this” is to stay very busy in his absence. Make plans with friends during the evenings so you won’t be sitting alone at home, stewing. And when he returns, do NOT give him the third degree.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 41-year-old mother of three, married less than two years. I now realize what a selfish lover my husband is. He expects things from me and refuses to reciprocate, which leaves me unhappy and unsatisfied. When I ask him to change things up or return the same foreplay, it results in us not connecting at all. How do I get him to be less selfish without hurting his feelings? I’m on the verge of cheating. — IT’S STALE IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR IT’S STALE: Cheating won’t help your situation. It will likely make it worse. Instead of dealing with a selfish or sexually repressed husband, you will have, in addition, one who is outraged when he discovers your infidelity.
Find a time when you are both calm to talk to him. Tell him you love him, but your sex life is unsatisfactory, and if he loves you, he will agree to talk things out with a licensed marriage and family therapist. If he refuses or things don’t improve, you may want to consult a lawyer.
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.
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.)