Dear Abby: Should I settle for the aloof guy or the married guy?

Since getting back into dating, woman has fallen in love with two men, each very flawed.

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DEAR ABBY: Since my divorce, I have started dating again. I was seeing a firefighter until I realized he was married with kids. Yes, I was angry with him for hiding the truth from me from the start. Then I started dating another guy I thought was the one for me. I even had him move in with me.

At the beginning things went well, but now he has started to change. He doesn’t pay as much attention to me as he did, and he thinks when I point out something I’m not comfortable with that I am trying to start a fight, which I’m not.

Since COVID started and I got injured and haven’t been able to work, his attitude has been very off with me. Unless it’s all about him or his job, he doesn’t talk to me. My kids don’t like him as much as they did, either.

I never lost touch with the firefighter. He is deeply in love with me, and I do still love him. He says when I kick the current man out he would move in and take care of me and treat me the way I should be treated.

If the firefighter moves in, would that make me a homewrecker? He has told me he and his wife aren’t doing well as a couple. I’m confused. I was very happy with him and also happy with the man who moved in with me — at first — but no more. What should I do? — THINKING TWICE

DEAR THINKING TWICE: Neither of these men is “The One.” Because it’s apparent you aren’t getting what you need from the man who is living with you, tell him, as nicely as you can, you are no longer happy with the arrangement, and then set a date for him to move.

If the firefighter moves in, you WILL appear to be a homewrecker. Expect the fallout to be nasty. He is married and has kids for whom he will have to provide until they are adults. He should not move in until he has at least filed for divorce and some kind of legal settlement is in the works. His moving in will not guarantee that life will be bliss from then on. It is very important you learn how to be on your own before jumping into any relationship without knowing the men better — and longer — than you have been doing.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a married woman in my 50s with two adult children and one grandchild. I work as a nurse. I wear my hair short because I have thick, unruly hair. One day, at a local supermarket, I was walking down the aisles looking for my husband. A man and his wife had a young daughter about 6 years old with them. He called me a slang word for lesbian. I ignored him and continued walking. He looked annoyed that his word didn’t bother me. (I am not a confrontational person.)

When I got home, I was thinking about the incident. It bothered me that he was teaching his young daughter that it’s OK to call people names. When I see or meet people, I notice if they are kind and show manners, I don’t think about whether they’re gay or not. Was I right to ignore him and walk away? — SHORT-HAIRED IN TEXAS

DEAR SHORT-HAIRED: You were absolutely right to keep walking. There was nothing to be gained by trying to educate an ignorant homophobe who appears to have been trying to start a fight. The best reaction you could have given was the one you did — which was to prevent him getting a rise out of you.

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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